Last year when we celebrated the 100 years of Junior Achievement, we also looked to the future and knew that our network had to embrace digital transformation to stay relevant in today’s context. Little did we know how much our schools, economies and societies would change as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak in the midst of the school year. Digital transformation is no longer a strategic objective for organisations, it is a necessity to be able to survive.
2019-20 has been a year of change for JA Europe not only because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Caroline Jenner who was the founder and CEO of JA Europe for 17 years, moved to JA Worldwide as Chief Operating Officer. We thank Caroline for her long-term dedication to JA Europe and for the legacy of growing entrepreneurship education in Europe. As new CEO of the organisation, Salvatore Nigro is determined to lift JA Europe to the next level in terms of impact, visibility and digital transformation. Together with our public and private partners we want to continue serving a growing number of young Europeans and to lead the way into more business-education collaboration and fostering entrepreneurial mind-sets for future success.
In the past few months, we have witnessed great innovation and resilience on behalf of students, teachers, business volunteers and institutional partners of Junior Achievement organisations in Europe. We were not paralyzed by school closures and the dramatic unfolding of lockdown and travel restrictions. We kept on providing support and inspiration to our stakeholders through new technology and communication tools. Events and competitions were organised in virtual format, business mentoring and teaching happened online, as did many coffee breaks, celebrations and staff meetings. Some of these innovations will be with us to stay, while others will be remembered as temporary solutions in times of emergency.
However, we also see the impact of the Covid-19 disruption on our finances and student reach across Europe. We didn’t need critical care but we certainly felt the effects. We are grateful for our partners and supporters who stood by us in these challenging times and together we will continue our efforts to inspire the next generation of Europeans.
We are extremely proud to celebrate the success of Junior Achievement’s students, teachers, business volunteers and European network in these challenging times. This past year has been a showcase of entrepreneurial attitude and creativity and gives me great hope that this organisation is well positioned to overcome whatever challenges lie ahead of us. We have come closer together, co-creating and inventing solutions to the biggest challenges of our times.
We hope you enjoy reading about our journey in the extraordinary school year 2019-20!