Updated: Aug 24
Written by Mercedes Rieno-Socoliche
It is now 2019 and, as heavily empathised by media platforms, the global economy is experiencing great revolutionary changes. One of these changes has been the incremental rise of Junior Enterprises in the global economy. According to JADE Network (European Confederation of Junior Enterprises), a Junior Enterprise (JE) is a “non-profit civil social organisation” which is created and managed entirely by undergraduate and postgraduate university students. These enterprises provide a multitude of services from legal advisories to translating services to a wide range of companies and organisations.
The aim is to encourage higher education students to foster entrepreneurial skills, learn and develop their theoretical skills all while being in a practical setting. For example, HEC advisory the first JE in Belgium has successfully operated for 27 years since 1991, and WBC UK a British JE has a current satisfactory rate of 95% and project success rate of 82%.
The increase of Junior Enterprises in the JADE network since its formation in 1967 where it began with one JE in France to now having 330 JEs across the world is a solid example of the rapid growth of this new business structure.
The year 1967 is not only significant to the JADE Network, but it is a key date were the JE movement began developing across the world. These enterprise structures and their high-quality services have been so successful they are now providing direct competition to other enterprise structures increasing their growth and international support rapidly.
In 2006, a formal written agreement between European and Brazilian JE Confederations created the Junior Enterprise World Conference (JECW).
The second conference took place in 2016, with a much more international outlook and greater emphasis on enlargement. The JE Global Council, an international JE network, was created and is now composed of 18 confederations worldwide.
The aim of this article is to provide a critical analysis of how these Junior Enterprises have been able to break successfully into the global market. It will also look at factors that may have cause the success of the movement, such as social attitudes and globalisation.
Changes in Social Attitudes
The changing attitudes of society towards education and younger generations is argued to be one of the factors that have helped exhibit the success of Junior Enterprises.
In 2015, global leaders of the United Nations, created objectives to protect the environment, reduce poverty, and increase joy, peace and prosperity of humanity on a global scale by 2030. These objectives were called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and 17 were created. The fourth SDG was ‘quality of education’, and to achieve this goal, specific targets were drafted. Out of all the targets created to achieve this SDG, targets 4.4 is the most relevant to the JE movement.
Target 4.4 states that by 2030 there must be a substantial increase of the “number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.” This target is completely in line with the goals of the JE movement, which aims to provide higher education students with a learn by doing working environment. Its business education approach is that students apply all the theoretical knowledge they have developed through higher education and implement it in the JE to resolve complex business challenges. In addition, it enables students to develop key employment skills which are linked to social and cognitive skills such as emotional intelligence and negotiating skills.
Both the creators of the JE movement and international leaders which created the SDG goals and their targets, show that there is a growing international interest in increasing entrepreneurial skills amongst younger generations. This is further witnessed by the continuous support for JE movements in international institutions such as the European Commission. President Jean- Claude Juncker of the European Commission stated “Europe’s future is in the hands of its young people. It is your energy and creativity that will produce the innovative ideas and start-ups tomorrow. Europe’s Junior Enterprises are leading the way.” This 21st century approach is different than in previous centuries, where less opportunities were given to the youth.
In addition, statistical reports have also supported the idea that entrepreneurship education has a positive impact on the employment of alumni, who as a result are less likely to be unemployed. This is because their education puts them in a position where they have to be creative and develop new ideas; helping them thrive in creative industries and create a close contact with different markets.
Realistically, it gives greater opportunities to expand their professional network; making it easier to enter into employment post-graduation. Because movements such as JE promote entrepreneurship, it is more likely to receive support by international institutions, which enhance its credibility. This makes it easier to market the enterprises and encourage more clients to successfully break into the market.
Target 4B to meet the fourth SDG of ‘quality education’ states that by 2030, the UN needs to “substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing states and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries”.
One of the key concepts of this target is its focus on global integration and development. It promotes ideas that parallel the goals of the JE Global Council (Enlargement and Development). The network also promotes entrepreneurs from all parts of the world; encouraging diversity in the industry, having recognised that integrating at a global level helps them benefit from economies of scale.
In terms of mass marketing, expertise and knowledge, local JEs may be able to resolve local challenges, but when dealing with international problems may find difficulties. Being part of a wider network gives local JEs access to greater resources. They may benefit from different technological resources and learn more efficient strategic frameworks from other JEs.
Moreover, working in partnerships with international JEs enables local students to increases their knowledge of new cultures and ways of working with different international organisations. These skills are transferred amongst JEs in confederations and networks, through partnerships and conferences.
In addition to this, technological advancements such as social media platforms and computer software, makes it easier for JEs to communicate and work in partnership at an international level. All of this enhances the quality of their services, lower its costs, and strengthen the impact of the movement. The focus of target 4B on vocational placements such as the ones provided by JEs, encourages stakeholders to view the SME structures in a more positive light.
In conclusion, the success of JEs in the global economy are due to its capacity to break into global markets whilst meeting the increasing global needs and wants of the market. As seen through the creation of the SDGs, international organisations are now becoming more interested in a more independent labour force with entrepreneurial skills to improve economies and standards of living as well as GDP growth. The objectives of JEs are in parallel to these requirements. In order to succeed, JEs have to implement the correct marketing strategy. Overall the marketing and organisational structure of the strategy is key to its success.
The creation of international confederations and networks since 1967, have encouraged affiliated members to benefit from economies of scale, in terms of marketing and technological resources. In addition to increasing their bargaining power, being part of networks has increased the individual success of local JEs and the movement as a whole, enabling them to thrive in the global market.
Bibliography and References
JADE (2018) Create a new Junior Enterprise. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.jadenet.org/create-a-junior-enterprise/
European Commission (2012) Effects of Higher Education Report. Brussels. DG Enterprise and Industry
JADE (2018) JADE Network. Retrieved December 12, 2018 from https://www.jadenet.org/
JADE (2017) JE HEC Advisory. Retrieved December 12, 2018 from https://www.jadenet.org/je_hec_advisory-2-2-2/
United Nations (2017) Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg4
World Economic Forum (2016) The Future of Jobs Report. Retrieve December 13, 2018 from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs.pdf
JADE (2018)The Junior Enterprise Concept. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://www.jadenet.org/the-junior-enterprise-concept/
WBC UK Website. Retrieved December 12, 2018 from https://wbc-uk.com/ What Moves us Forward. Retrieved December 12, 2018 from https://juniorenterprises.org/insights/what-moves-us-forward/