The JA Company Programme provides an entrepreneurial learning experience for young people aged 15 to 18. The programme seeks to nurture a new generation of entrepreneurial, innovative and civic-minded talents for Cyprus.
It is the largest youth entrepreneurship programme on the island.
Participants learn how to take a business idea from concept to reality and have hands-on experience of running a real business, from team formation, capital raising, business plan development, product development, marketing, and sales to liquidating the company. The purpose is to design and proceed to production of a product or service, which meet identified social needs, is environmentally friendly and distinguished by innovative characteristics.
In doing so, student companies have the guidance of their teacher and the support of a business mentor who is their link to the real business world.
This specific programme runs a full academic year where teachers and mentors are trained by JA staff in September and October, students teams work on their idea until February where they are getting towards the culmination of the programme. In April, the 2-days Trade Fair is taking place where students have the chance to showcase their idea, talk to the public, proceed to sale and advertising and lots more.
At the end of the Company Programme, students have the chance to participate in the Company of the Year Competition, where the 10 top student companies present in front of a panel of judges, their entrepreneurial ideas and the winning team represents Cyprus at the JA European Company of the Year Competition abroad.
The Program has been recognized by the European Commission as best practice to promote Entrepreneurship.
“Every student must have a practical business experience before leaving compulsory education”
European Commission, 2012
Students participating in the Company Programme have:
- 50% more chances to start their own business
- 20% more likely to find a job in their field
- 20% more chances to be hired in senior executive positions
- 15% higher average income
- 9 out of 10 participants are likely to recommend the programme to their friends.
- The greatest reported benefit is in the Skills acquired with 95% of students reporting improving their communication and teamwork skills through their participation.
- Over 70% of students report gaining entrepreneurial skills and over 60% report wishing to pursue entrepreneurship as a result of their participation in the programme.
- Over 75% of students reported that the restrictions due to the pandemic did not have a significant effect on their experience and had positive effect on helping them build flexible ways of working and collaborating.
Teachers and Mentors Feedback:
85% – Pleasant and fruitful experience
“The pleasant feeling of contributing to society by offering students the opportunity to take part in an international educational program.”
“The program gives the opportunity to our young people to acquire new knowledge and skills that will help them in their subsequent professional and/or personal success.”
An important part of students’ participation in the Company Programme is the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass (ESP) self-assessment questionnaire and exam. There is a direct relationship between the entrepreneurial activities that students experience through the Company Programme.
The ESP is an international qualification that certifies that students have had a real entrepreneurship experience, and have gained the necessary knowledge, skills and competences to start a business or to be successfully employed. Successful participation in the ESP increases the chances of students being admitted into universities of their choosing, as well as the achievement of their professional goals.
The information about the ESP self-assessment questionnaire and exam are explained to students through an online meeting with the project coordinator and are accessible through a specific platform.
The self-assessment questionnaire is not a test of knowledge for students. The main goal is for students to find out the improvement of their personal skills at the beginning and at the end of the participation in the Company Programme. The whole procedure to complete the self-assessment questionnaire takes about 20-30 minutes.
The goal of the exam is to evaluate and validate students’ theoretical & practical knowledge, as well as their skills. The questions therefore focus on skills with an emphasis on applied understanding and practical scenarios and not just on assessing knowledge of business concepts. It takes about 45 minutes to complete the ESP exam.
The self-assessment questionnaire is compulsory for students taking part in the Company Programme, while the exam is voluntary.
An entrepreneurial skills certificate is given only to students who have successfully completed the examination and is automatically issued by the platform.
- Who runs the JA Company Programme?
The JA Company Programme is run by JA Cyprus – a non-profit organization, which is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide, one of the largest global NGOs dedicated to addressing fundamental social and economic challenges of young people by educating and empowering them to transform their future and own their economic success. JA Cyprus is a partnership between the business community, educators, mentors and volunteers — working together to inspire young people to dream big and reach their potential.
- How long does the JA Company Programme run?
The JA Company Programme runs for one academic year (September – July) where students, teachers and mentors have the chance to participate in educational trainings and information sessions. Through this one academic year, JA Cyprus offers 2 teachers’ trainings, 2 students’ trainings and 1 mentors’ training along with the 2-day trade fair where the student companies exhibit their product or service idea to the public, and the finale awards ceremony where the 10 top student companies present their ideas in front of a panel of judges. Furthermore, students have weekly meetings with their teachers and mentors.
- Is there any cost for participating in the programme?
The program is offered free of charge to all participating schools, public or private. However, for events organized with the physical presence such as the Trade Fair and the Finale Awards Ceremony, any travel and accommodation expenses are not covered by JA Cyprus.
- How is the programme implemented?
The programme is run with the philosophy of blended learning. A variety of webinars and trainings are offered to students, teachers and mentors virtually, while the 2 main events of the programme – the Trade Fair and the Finale Awards Ceremony- are offered with physical presence. Also, JA staff members are able to offer information or training sessions to schools throughout the school year, either virtually or physically with visits at schools.
- What is the programme’s structure?
The Company Programme is approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth and schools are informed with a circular by the ministry, at the beginning of the academic year. The participation is voluntarily, and the programme is implemented either in the free time of teachers and students or within the “Creativity – Action – Social Contribution” activities scheme of each school.
The responsibility for the implementation of the program is taken by at least one teacher who is also supported by a business volunteer who guides the student team through his own professional experience and knowledge.
All students, teachers and mentors, as soon as they register in the programme, they are provided with access on the JA Cyprus LMS platform where they can find all the educational material of the programme.
- What is the role of teacher?
The Company Programme is open to teachers from all disciplines. Teachers from all course specialties are allowed and welcome to join the programme!
The program is implemented by at least one responsible teacher in collaboration with other teachers of the school and in communication with the JA Cyprus. His/her primary role involves the students’ information regarding the programme, the organization of the student group, the communication and cooperation with the business volunteer/mentor who supports the team, the compliance with the programme’s rules and time limits and the facilitation and communication with all those involved in operation of the student company.
- What is the role of business volunteer/mentor?
The main role of the business volunteer/mentor is to bridge the distance between school education and real-life business.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor to a student company, your role will be:
- The link to the outside world: To offer advice as to how approach external consultants, suppliers, businesses
- Bring your experiences to the table
- Motivate students to set goals
- Ask for clarifications, ask questions, listen
- Encourage the students to take action/follow up on them
- Constructive criticism
- Inspire the students, Recognize their hard work and results
- Encourage students to do self-evaluation and reflection on their performance
Mentors are requested to make themselves available to their teams for a minimum of of 5-8 hours during the period of November to April. Meetings can take place most preferably virtually. A face-to-face meeting could be arranged with the presence of their teacher and the permission of the head teacher (if at school).
- Do I get a certificate for participating in the JA Company Programme?
Each student participating in the JA Company programme has the chance to complete the two ESP questionnaires (pre and post) and get a participation certificate of their involvement within the JA Company Programme. Furthermore, students have the chance to take the ESP exam (not compulsory) and be awarded with an additional certificate verifying their entrepreneurial knowledge gained.
- What students gain from participating in the JA Company Programme?
Students learn to:
- Raise real finance by selling shares
- Open and use their own company bank account
- Carry out market research
- Work together to create their business plan
- Develop their own product or service
- Market and promote their product or service
- Trade with the public
- Manage the company finances
- Take part in trade fairs
- Compete with other schools in ‘company of the year’ competitions.
- Learning outcomes
Students can develop enterprising skills, attitudes and behaviours, including:
- Creative thinking and problem solving
- Communication and presentation skills
- Confidence and a can-do attitude
- Teamwork and leadership
- Negotiation and decision making
- Setting goals and time management
- Risk management
- Curricular or thematic relevance
- Do students on their own can take part in this programme or only through their school?
The program is based on the philosophy of school group participation and implementation under the pedagogical responsibility of at least one responsible school teacher. Therefore, applications for participation are made by the responsible teacher or headmaster/headmistress.
- What is the relationship of JA Company Programme and Entrepreneurial Skills Pass (ESP)?
The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass is a unique international certification of skills and experiences. This is the first JA micro-credential specifically designed for the JA Company Programme. It combines a competence-based assessment for students to reflect on their own progress with a final examination validating and certifying their theoretical and factual knowledge about business issues and concepts.
Teacher registration form
Mentor registration form
Student Companies registration