EVGENIOS EVGENIOU: In order for JA Cyprus to achieve its key objectives, it requires support from sponsors but also from the Government
Evgenios Evgeniou, CEO of PwC Cyprus, highlights JA Cyprus’ important contribution to youth entrepreneurship education and, consequently, to the development of the country.
Why did PwC Cyprus decide to support JA Cyprus? Could you share with us your impressions following this first year of collaboration?
Evgenios Evgeniou: At PwC, we strongly believe that promoting youth entrepreneurship is an important facilitator to sustainable development. Therefore, we are very proud of our collaboration with JA Cyprus and our contribution to the pursuit of JA objectives through our corporate know-how. Our staff members were very impressed with JA Cyprus and were happy to volunteer their time as mentors. Specifically, eight PwC employees volunteered their time offering support and guidance to the student companies competing for the title of ‘Company of the Year’. More than 100 staff members attended a small trade fair that was organized specifically for the teams mentored by PwC. The event, which took place at our premises, provided students with the opportunity to present their companies and sell their products. Needless to say, our staff were delighted to attend and support the teams.
How would you rate the performance of the student-entrepreneurs? Could you imagine them as prospective clients or employees of PwC?
Evgenios Evgeniou: Students participating in the Company Programme pleasantly surprised me with their fresh ideas, passion and commitment, but mainly with their inventiveness and maturity. As a judge at the Company of the Year Competition 2016, I have to admit that all the ideas presented were well-thought out and rather impressive. I hope that all these young people continue their entrepreneurial activities with equal desire and passion, and I have to say that it will be our great pleasure and honor to welcome them in the future as clients or employees.
To what extent do you consider that JA Cyprus fulfills its mission to bridge the gap between school and the labour market?
Evgenios Evgeniou: I strongly believe that JA Cyprus through its expertise and experience has managed to attract young people and convince them through learning-by-doing how a business idea can be implemented and how a company can be created and run. In my opinion, it is very important for youth to experience entrepreneurship and innovation, develop necessary skills and identify alternative professional options for their future. In order for JA Cyprus to achieve its main objectives, support by sponsors but also by the Government is necessary. This is how a creative environment will be developed, an environment that will allow youth to convert their ideas into practice. It is through strong stakeholder collaboration that we can create the required infrastructure so that JA Cyprus’ objectives can be realised and our country can develop youth entrepreneurship as an important competitive advantage.
What advice would you give to the winning team that will travel to Lucerne, Switzerland and represent Cyprus in the JA European Company of the Year Competition?
Evgenios Evgeniou: I would advise them to believe in themselves and their idea and to enjoy this unique experience!
What is the major key to creating and operating a successful business?
Evgenios Evgeniou: A good idea, an effective organizational structure, efficient partners and the willingness to take risks! All the rest come as a result of these.