1st European Business-Education Summit \ JADE Keynote speech

Brussels, 23rd of November, 2017

Invited by CSR Europe, JADE has participated in the initiative Pact4Youth in the last 2 years. The 1st European Business-Education Summit marks the end of this cycle and was the occasion to celebrate the great results accomplished across Europe. JADE has had a clear role bridging the academia and the business world; promoting the learning-by-doing philosophy and fostering entrepreneurial skills among university students.

The significative impact the work of JADE and its 300+ Junior Enterprises has generated was showcased during the event, through a keynote speech, held by JADE President, Diogo Parreira.


The keynote speech:


Ladies and gentlemen,

Junior Enterprises are fighting for a better education.

I started my journey in a Junior Enterprise back in 2014, during my first year in the Bachelor. But what are these Junior Enterprises? We are talking about non-profit organizations, composed and managed solely by university students which provide services to mainly SMEs.

Students start as consultants. They immediately receive some training and are allocated to a project with a client. 1. It can be a communication campaign to reach 2 million people and to raise the awareness of health problems; 2. It can be an app that connects the machinery in a factory to make processes more efficient and maintenance easier. 3. It can be a strategic plan for a multinational to enter a new market or 4. A market study for the small grocery shop in the corner of the street.

By doing these projects, the students consolidate their theoretical knowledge from classes, in a multidisciplinary environment. They meet obstacles and concepts they did not know before, they search, they try, they learn-by-doing.
In my Junior Enterprise, one year after being a consultant, I was the one preparing the proposals for the clients, negotiating budgets and methodologies; managing teams and ensuring a sustainable development of the Junior Enterprise as an organization. This while studying and attending all the classes.

Junior Enterprises are empowering students, training their skills.

It is all about developing skills, propose challenges and let us, students, do what we will probably only do after 3-4 years employed in a company. We indeed develop a large set of entrepreneurial skills. They are the most difficult to acquire, but we find in our Junior Enterprises a safe environment to make mistakes, learn and start again. The best bridge to connect the academia and the business world.

Believe me, I was pretty scared when I was negotiating an internationalization plan of a Portuguese company. But that is what learning is about, get thrown out of your comfort zone and find your way out.

Junior Enterprises are enhancing employability.

The benefits of this experience were also studied by the European Commission. In the report “Effects and impact of entrepreneurship programmes in higher education” is showed that students that take part to a Junior Enterprise have a higher propensity for creating their own businesses and are more likely employed even before finishing their graduation (20 percentage points above a student without the experience).

I have seen a lot of successful intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs leaving a very interesting mark in their companies. Ask Pedro what is he developing in Google or Jacob how he managed to create one of the fastest-growing startups in Germany.

At the end of the day, we are fostering the Sustainable Development goals of the United Nations, focusing on improving the education (the goal 4), complementing it through a more practical approach. We are doing our part towards a better world in 2030. And, let me say, that according to the report “Better Business, Better World”, all the goals are connected. But a progress on the education goal is the one that influences the others the most. We are forming leaders, the leaders that will have the responsibility to achieve this sustainable development we all desire.

Junior Enterprises are forming a new generation of active citizens; aspiring a better world.

The first Junior Enterprise was founded in 1967 in France. Now, we are more than 300 in Europe and many more in the world. We deliver more than 4000 projects per year and generate a cumulative turnover of almost 14 million euros.

Today, I am here at this stage representing a network of 26.000 students, colleagues, that are part of a Junior Enterprise. JADE, the European Confederation, exists to guarantee they succeed: maximizing their impact in our society.

Junior Enterprises are generating a massive impact, fighting for a better education.
And we have just started.

We want to be present in each university in Europe; to give this experience to many more students… More students, more projects, more impact generated for universities, companies and for the students’ development.

Companies have their role here: start working with a Junior Enterprise; help us create new ones in more countries as your contribution for a more entrepreneurial generation. Help us empowering thousands of students. Be part of this success story.

We want to continue to leave a mark in the education system of so many countries. To fight for a better education and a more prepared generation for the challenges of our world. Initiatives like the Pact4Youth renew our motivation to do more and to do better.

And there is still so much more than we can do together…
Please, let’s do it.

Thank you very much.



More about the event here.

More about the Pact4Youth here.