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Looking back at an extraordinary year!

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 effectsWe 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! 

Adam Warby,
Chairman of JA Europe Board of Directors

Salvatore NigroSalvatore Nigro,
CEO JA Europe

A message from our CEO

Our network

The JA Europe network spans across 40 countries in Europe:

“I congratulate Junior Achievement Europe and Portugal for convening this important event bringing together young entrepreneurs from across Europe. [… ] This crisis offers us an opportunity to reframe traditional business models, and to reset the business agenda by building the capabilities and systems that will foster breakthrough innovations.”

António Guterres,
UN Secretary General during JA Europe Company of  the Year Competition 2020.

About us

This is JA Europe

We are the largest non-profit in Europe dedicated to preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship. JA creates pathways for employability, job creation and financial success. JA Europe is a member of JA Worldwide® .

JA Europe 3 focus areas


We design experiences that spark the entrepreneurial spirit and teach the practical day-to-day skills required to run a viable, long-term business.


We create skill-building opportunities that enable young people to find meaningful, productive careers.


We provide practical training in budgeting, spending, investing, and the responsible use of credit.

Through JA programmes, students learn a wide range of skills that help them prepare for their future professional lives:


Goal orientation and initiative
Leadership and responsability


Problem solving and learnability
Communication, interpersonal and social skills
Hard work, dependability and teamwork
Integrity and ethics
Self-motivation and self-control
Positive attitude and positive self-concept


Money and risk management
Higher-order thinking
Intuitive decision-making

Our programmes reach this year 2019-2020


Young people




Teachers and educators


Business volunteers
Since JA Europe’s creation in 2002, our reach has steadily increased, from less than 1 million 17 years ago to more than 3.8 million today.
In total, we have involved close to 50 million young people in Europe through our education programmes.

Learn more about our programmes >>

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Despite the huge disruption caused by the school closures due to COVID-19 pandemic, JA network was able to reach over 3.8 million students!

“It is up to you, in this competition, coming from everywhere, to show that the future is yours!”

Prof. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa,
President of Portuguese Republic speaking at the CoYC 2020.

Innovation in Education

Measuring and communicating impact: further expansion of the ESP micro-credential

The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass™ (ESP) is a micro-credential certifying that students (aged 15-19) who have participated in the JA Company Programme, have gained the necessary knowledge, skills and competences to start a business or to be successfully employed. For schools and teachers, the ESP is a full package to support entrepreneurial learning outcomes and to provide students with the skills and competencies employers are looking for.

The ESP was developed in 2013 with the support of the European Commission, since than the internationally recognised certificate programme continued and extended. Since 2013 the number of countries involved in ESP has increased constantly and during the school year 2019-2020, the ESP was implemented in 30 countries and currently available in 25 languages. The globalization of ESP has been officially launched to the JA Network during the Global Leadership Conference in Berlin. The globalization of the ESP will make it available to the Network as a key tool to measure impact across multiple countries and diverse populations.

Outside of Europe, Bahrain and Jamaica have been already fully implemented ESP in 2019-2020, meanwhile 16 new countries across 4 regions have an interest to implement the international certificate of the JA Company Programme in the near future. 6 countries from Africa already used the self-assessment tool to measure the development of students` skills and competences.

In 2019-2020 the globalization of the ESP took further steps, however the process across all regions slowed down due to the school closures.

“Our students have spared no efforts in pursuing their educational goals and have worked relentlessly to acquire the ESP certification. We highly appreciate the time and efforts our students invested in preparing for this certification and we wholeheartedly congratulate the students who have been certified.” – Her Highness Shaikha Hessa Bint Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairwoman of INJAZ Bahrain.

Thanks to our dedicated partners who supported the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass in 2019-2020

Delta Air Lines supported the development work of ESP as well as the development of new communication and marketing materials. Furthermore, Delta Air Lines offered scholarship opportunities for ESP holders to participate in the National Flight Academy in Boston.

HP is supporting ESP students to be better prepared for their exam, by giving access to HP LIFE courses.

Salesforce was providing mentoring sessions for ESP holders on how to structure and design a winning CV and how to be prepared for a job interview.

Transforming industry sectors with innovation and new talent through Entrepreneurship Education

The collaboration with EIT RawMaterials, EIT Food and EIT Climate provided secondary and university school students in Slovenia, Italy (Sicily), Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland with practical experience from one-day intensive innovation camps to a deep-dive Company Programme and Start-Up Programme experience combined with sector-specific challenges. With mentorship from industry leaders, 2,200 students across the EU take on the challenge to build a more sustainable European society turning innovative ideas into real opportunities in sectors with high innovation potential.

2019-2020 EIT partnership impact:

  • 2,207 student experiences
  • 270 teachers trained
  • 222 mentors involved

The EIT Food related company, GreenSavers, won the national JA Italy company of the year competition. The team developed an automated system with APS 2.0 sensors that protects the greenhouses from all adverse weather conditions. The jury was particularly impressed to see a fully functioning prototype.

EIT RawMaterials related mini companies from Bulgaria include Salipax – a new knee pad made of recycled materials and Barbaronite – tackling the issue of burning car tires.

Entrepreneurship Education for a more inclusive society

Together with key partners JA Europe is increasingly focussing on highlighting the societal impact of entrepreneurship education. Thanks to the support of NN Group, JA Europe invested in developing the implementation of the Social Innovation Relay in order to reach out schools with lack of resources and bring add-on quality education to students with disadvantage background. Within our partnership with NN Group a new initiative was piloted in 2019 by involving other NGOs in Social Innovation Camp in Spain to educate young people about the needs of disabled people.

JA Greece with NN Hellas are supporting students in rural areas and supporting students with disadvantaged background. Since May 2019, NN Hellas has funded travels and sent volunteers within Greece’s most rural areas for children to have access to vocational guidance and mentorship. Moreover, since the COVID outbreak, NN Hellas’s support has continued by offering children to take an online professional orientation test to further help youth within low income communities to better understand their interests, inclinations and desires.

Vulnerable youth

Young people who are “Not in Employment, Education or Training” (NEETs) are a sensitive social group aged 16-29 who do not have a job and do not attend any form of education or professional training. In order to facilitate their integration into the labour market, 6 Junior Achievement member organisations and Lyk-Z & daughters social entrepreneurship company launched the “NEETs in Entrepreneurship” project, funded by the EEA and Norway Grants “Fund for Youth Employment” and led by JA Romania as project coordinator.

Thanks to this project, between 2018 and 2021, 1,600 NEETs in Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Spain will receive training and support to acquire the skills needed to find a job or start their own business. In addition, the project aims to prevent another 1,000 young people enrolled in a vocational and technical education school from falling into the NEET category, by providing them with training and counselling.

Paolo Gentiloni,
European Commissioner for Economy speaking at the CoYC 2020.

“We need your energy, your skills, your entrepreneurship and your capacity. We can only achieve a real recovery with a strong contribution of all citizens and especially the young generation. This is why we called our recovery plan The Next Generation EU.”

Competitions & Events

Every year, students following the JA programmes have the opportunity to take part in local, national and European competitions, during which they pitch their business ideas to international jurys and compete for prizes and awards. Here is an overview of last year’s main competitions and events. After the Covid-19 pandemic closed schools and large events as of March 2020, all our activities and events were transformed into a virtual format.

Competitions & Events

JA Europe Company of the Year Competition 2020

July 2020 – Hosted by Portugal

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JA Europe Enterprise Challenge 2020

24-26 June 2020 – Hosted by JA Greece

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Social Innovation Relay

Online Global Final 2020

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Sci-Tech Challenge 2020

28 May 2020

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Inventing the Future

3 June 2020

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Peer-learning workshop for Entrepreneurship Education experts

5-7 November 2019

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Alumni Conference 2019 & FERD’s LIST 2019

Vienna, 2019

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The Entrepreneurial School Awards

Helsinki 2019, hosted by JA Finland

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JA Global Leadership Conference 2019

19 November 2019, Berlin – Hosted by JA Germany

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AmCham Youth Entrepreneurship Award 2019


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BNY Mellon Digital Innovation Award Online Final 2020

15 June 2020

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“The COVID-19 crisis reminds us that we need entrepreneurship, creativity and resilience more than ever”

Mariya Gabriel,
European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education & Youth.


Spotlight on our Gold Partners

Arrow Global

Arrow Global strives to provide high-quality financial education through the “Building Better Financial Futures” Project. Since the beginning of the partnership with JA Europe in July 2018 to December 2019, more than 3,000 students were equipped with employability and financial literacy skills and about 400 Arrow Global volunteers have been working with JA to implement activities on the ground. In 2020, JA and Arrow Global aim to reach 5,000 students through Financial Literacy programmes throughout the 6 countries where they partner.

Despite the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe, JA and Arrow Global have continued delivering financial education through new, virtual activities. JA Project Managers and local Arrow Global volunteers have sat together and have come up with innovative ideas on how to continue teaching financial skills without being in the classroom.


Since the start of our cooperation in 2013, more than 25,000 under resourced young people across eight European countries have participated in 600 Employability and Entrepreneurial programmes led by AT&T experts . This year alone, more than 5,500 students participated in 123 various programme activities led by 485 AT&T employee volunteers.

The AT&T Excellence in IT Award was given at the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition for the 4th year in a row, while AT&T jury representatives participated to national JA competitions across the 8 countries where the partnerships run.

Arconic Foundation

Over the last three years, Arconic Foundation and Junior Achievement have partnered on the “Inventing the Future” programme, which has involved more than 1,400 young people from over 60 schools in France, Germany, Hungary and the UK. The students have been supported by more than 155 Arconic volunteers across Europe. The programme featured classroom visits from Arconic volunteers giving students insights to the full spectrum of STEM careers available to them, as well as other activities to collaborate on different STEM-related challenges and develop their innovation skills. The activities under this initiative have a special focus on the next generation of materials and how innovation will influence the manufacturing industry and societal challenges in the areas of recycling and reuse of materials.


This year, Avanade supported the Digital Innovation Award at the JA Europe Enterprise Challenge, the annual European Competition of the JA Start Up Programme, for the third year in a row. The Greek start-up Dr IV that won the Avanade Signature Award will receive Mentoring from Avanade Executives in the upcoming school year.

To enhance the students’ experience and to better prepare them for integrating Digital Innovation in their start-ups, Avanade ran a webinar on AI & Data in March in collaboration with Microsoft and another webinar on Remote Working in June.

In addition to that, Avanade has offered pro-bono support to make the JA Europe main events, notably the Enterprise Challenge and the Company of the Year Competition a virtual experience and was therefore recognised as technology partner of both events.

Bayer Fund

Through our collaboration with Bayer, the project “Fostering Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship” is the first European programme dedicated to the agriculture sector. In the 4th year of our partnership, 9 European countries took part: 3,525 students created 301 student companies in the 218 schools involved. In addition, 802 students took the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass certification at the end of their entrepreneurship education experience!

The number of students involved exceeds expectations given the popularity and interest from schools for the agricultural sector.


For the 4th year of our cooperation, we have teamed up with Bloomberg across 18 countries to deliver skills-based volunteering: coaching sessions, webinars about fake news and modern journalism and job shadow days to name a few activities. 2.903 students were reached thanks to the support of 70Bloomberg volunteers .

BNY Mellon

The partneship between BNY Mellon and JA Europe has been constantly growing in the last few years. In the first half of 2020, 2,651 students have been reached thanks to the support of more than 100 BNY Mellon business volunteers that have been working with 11 organisations of the JA Network in 10 countries. BNY Mellon also supported JA Europe and the network by providing additional support for the digital transformation of the organisation. Thanks to an anticipated renewal of the 2020-2021 grant, BNY Mellon made possible the organisation of our European events in a fully virtual format.

Citi Foundation

Citi Foundation has been a supporter of the JA Company Programme since its introduction in Europe over 30 years ago! In the 2019-2020 school year, the partnership ran across 22 countries and has involved 77,987 students, exceeding the target of 68,895 despite COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, it allowed the creation of more than 3,500 mini-companies, engaged 280 Citi volunteers and supported more than 1,000 students to get the ESP certification. At the beginning of July 2020, we celebrated this successful partnership by launching the Company Programme Video thanks to an event broadcasted live on our social media channels.


FedEx supported the FedEx Access award as part of the JA Company Programme across 5 countries. FedEx volunteers and jury members were present at all regional and national JA Competitions. FedEx awarded its 13th FedEx Access Award at the 31st Virtual Company of the Year Competition hosted by JA Portugal.


FERD’S List is an initiative of JA Europe to recognize inspirational young entrepreneurs and leaders. They are individuals who, in the words of Johan Andresen, Chairman of FERD, are inspirational innovators “creating value and leaving lasting footprints”. They are connected because they have all participated in a JA practical entrepreneurial experience at school. FERD’s List aims to identify young people who achieved outstanding results in their lives after the JA experience.
It looks not only at what they achieved, but wants to celebrate the pathway they are on; recognizing that they are in a moment of life where their potential is being transformed into greater value for society.

The 2019 one was the 3rd edition of FERD’s LIST, which was included as an official Celebration at the JA Global Alumni Conference in Vienna, Austria. The 2019 edition showcased 11 honourees from 4 JA Regions.


Our collaboration through the JA Company Programme has reached more than 15,000 young people across 26 countries, with the support of more than 260 business volunteers, mentors and judges from ManpowerGroup. At the occasion of the 31st Virtual JA Europe Company of the Year Competition, ManpowerGroup presented its 4th “Ready for Work” Award. “ManpowerGroup and Junior Achievement are strongly aligned in our commitment to helping young people nurture their learnability and upskill to become work-ready for today, tomorrow and the future.” - Jonas Prising / Chairman & CEO, ManpowerGroup / Vice-chair, JA Worldwide

MetLife Foundation

This year was the 5th edition of the MetLife LifeChanger project in 20 countries (15 in Europe, 5 in MENA) , involving 31,600 students from primary to tertiary education in various entrepreneurship and financial literacy programmes . 582 MetLife volunteers spent more than 5,000 hours with students in 32 different types of activities . The year culminated with the bestowment of the MetLife LifeChanger Award at the Company of the Year 2019 !

NN Group

JA Europe and NN Group have been working together since 2015 to empower young people to tackle societal challenges by using innovation and entrepreneurship.

Alongside the Social Innovation Relay, the partnership also supports the implementation of Job Shadow Day events, which allow young people to shadow a business professional throughout one working day. The third activity of the partnership is the Social Innovation Camp, an intensive idea-generating workshop where students gather in order to address a specific societal challenge in one day. The extensive growing partnership between NN and JA is preparing young people to enter the workforce, creating jobs and new enterprises, and developing innovative youth employability-enhancing solutions. The collaboration covers fundamental actions required to address the most pressing youth-centered social problems around the world. The greatest value of this partnership is offering access to high quality programmes that can change the mind-set among educators and students and encourage new business ideas focusing on social change.

More than ever, providing students with entrepreneurship skills while underscoring the link between businesses and society appear to us as a key contribution to support the next generation and the world in the recovery that awaits us.

Since 2015, over 63,000 young people across 13 countries in Europe and globally have had the opportunity to be supported by experienced NN colleagues to come up with the innovative ideas that would address their communities’ most pressing challenges.

Earlier this year, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the students participating in the first digital Social Innovation camp in Bulgaria were tasked to look for financial solutions that would help to maintain existing businesses and help people to manage their finances in times of crisis. Their ideas included security insurance for individuals, a phone app to offer online pandemic insurance and an individual insurance that provides a secure home with internet connection. The students’ creativity, positive mind-set and ability to work in teams was impressive – something we recognise in the other teams participating in the Social Innovation Relay.

“This activity is allowing me to get to know other realities, to realize that young people come up full of ideas and energy, and that there are people with different abilities with whom we have many things in common, but from whom we can also learn many other essential things. On my part, I am trying to moderate the team, so that everyone listens to each other and learns from each other's experience. We are going to take advantage of the fact that we are working together with a young man with cerebral palsy to design an idea that will facilitate tourism for people like him. There is no one better than him to explain to us what they need and try to help them." - Almudena Barbero, Head of Communication & Brand, NN Spain


Thanks to the support of USAID, we could increase our presence in the Balkans, across all key stakeholders:

. 20% increase in the students participating to the JA Company Programme in Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova and Serbia.

. Over 400 teachers were trained and the total number of teachers involved grew by a third!

. Increase in the number of business partners and volunteers

USAID’s support also allowed our partners in the Balkans to update their current curriculum and offer capacity building through training and mentoring. The project will continue in 2019-2020.

Learn more about our partners >>

Martin Kern,
Director European Institute of Technology (EIT).

“What is very important going forward in these very difficult times of the crisis that we have, is that we do not lose the spirit of entrepreneurship; and that young people like you ensure the courage, the commitment and the creativity to create the products and the services that are needed to create innovation and to solve the big societal challenges that are ahead of us.”

A dynamic network

Model Nation Awards

The JA Europe Model Nation Awards recognise the quality of JA national offices’ leadership and operations: their impact, quality of programmes and contribution to the overall success of JA Europe’s network.
This year, 30 Model Nation Awards were presented to the following members:

  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Belgium FL
  • Belgium FR
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom

TJ Bata Quality Award

The TJ Bata Quality Award recognises  JA member organisations for demonstrating the highest standard of quality and excellence. This year, JA Italy received the Thomas J. Bata Quality Award 2019.

Margaritis Schinas,
Vice President of the European Commission.

“There is a need for Europe to go through a skills revolution in the years to come. And at the heart of this skills revolution, entrepreneurship is more important than ever.”

Financial statements

JA Europe Consolidated Financial Statements

30 June 2020, in EUR