Written by Ediz Ali
It’s 6 AM on a rainy Thursday morning. I have just arrived at St. Pancras station excited for what the next four days have in store for me. A short while afterwards I meet up with my fellow WBC members and board the train, I try to catch some sleep as our two presenters, Emujin and Mikael, rehearse for the speech they’re presenting to all the other Junior Enterprises (JE’s) later that evening.
Once we’ve arrived at the hotel, we catch up with some old JE’s and introduce ourselves to new ones. Afterwards, we head off to the Opening Ceremony where we’re introduced to a ‘lovely’ Belgium snowstorm. We take refuge in a little café and afterwards, set off on foot to BEL Brussels where the JEE Opening Ceremony is being hosted. Some of us (including myself) immediately decided to scrap the idea of walking and instead of freezing to death, we get inside a warm, toasty Uber.
Once we meet the rest of our team, we take our seats and wish our two speakers the best of luck and promise to take lots of pictures and wave our Union Jack once they begin speaking. The talks included the Opening Speech from Florian Schildheuer, (the JEE President and former WBC alumnus) and some other keynote speakers. Afterwards, the Excellence Awards pitches begin, where many different Junior Enterprises pitch their achievements and accomplishments and why they deserve to win.
The different types of Excellence Awards included the Most Impactful Project, Most International JE, Most Entrepreneurial JE, Most Sustainable JE, Most Promising JE and finally the JE of the Year. We entered to win the Most International JE as WBC had won it 7 times previously. We have 34 consultants from 23 countries, speaking 31 languages. Emujin and Mikael did not disappoint as they both gave a fantastic performance and we made sure to do our best cheering them on.
Sustainable Development Goals(SGDs) Exploration Game
On the second day, Mikael and I hosted a workshop with ABIS, our partner (Academy of Business in Society), in which our participants played the Sustainable Development Goals(SGDs) Exploration Game. Our players were given different roles such as an entrepreneur, a big business or an independent blogger and needed to spend tokens every round in order to justify their decisions based on the current state of the board (such as a global recession or increased pollution) whilst following one or more of the 17 different Sustainable Development Goals.
It was great seeing my players being able to explain their choices especially since English was everyone’s second language. Next, we all went to the Wintry Networking Fair where we had the chance to network with other JE’s and businesses. In the evening we enjoyed getting to further our connections with new friends by attending an evening out which was a true highlight for me. Getting to spend so much time with new friends was worth going to Brussels alone.
On the third day, we had some workshops hosted by the different Junior Enterprises. I attended the workshop titled “75 Tips for Social Selling on LinkedIn” hosted by ConQuest Consulting, one of our partners. The workshop consisted of advice and guidance on how to help boost the reach your LinkedIn can get and how to best connect to other businesses and individuals.
Afterwards, we had an exchange session in which the different departments of each JEs met together. Mikael and I visited the Human Resources exchange session where we discussed and shared matters including our recruitment process using the SDG Exploration Game. In the evening we had the Excellence Awards Ceremony. The results of the presentations were announced in which we were delighted to have won The Most International JE for 2019! This makes it our eighth win, something we are all very proud of.
On our fourth and last day, we packed our bags, said our goodbyes and took some photos and explored Belgium by doing some sightseeing including trying the best French fries and Belgium waffles we’ve ever had. Tired from the last couple of days, most of us fell asleep on our way back to King’s Cross London. Although the weather wasn’t kind to us, and the lack of sleep on all nights made us feel like zombies, The JEE Winter Conference was a fantastic event to go to and I urge you all to attend if you can.