JUNIOR programs enable students to acquire the basic principles of entrepreneurial activity and core social and technical skills. The motto here is: Experience business. The young people learn and test the basic principles of entrepreneurial activity together and acquire the core social and technical skills they need for their future careers.
JUNIOR has been established for 25 years and is present at many schools
It’s just like real life: You need a smart business idea. Sufficient capital, too, of course. And a good marketing strategy, so that customers are interested in the new product. And not just fictitiously: “The idea is not a business simulation, but takes place on the real market,” explains State Secretary for Education and Cultural Affairs Anna Stolz. In Bavaria, the project has already been established for 25 years and is present at many types of schools.
“With the support of teachers as school mentors and economic experts as business mentors, the students can try themselves out as young entrepreneurs and test their own business ideas for marketability – under real conditions,” says Stolz. The Corona pandemic has changed social life in Germany and also presented the economy with new challenges. That’s why “perhaps more than ever, it’s the time for new ideas and innovative projects,” says Stolz.
Organization and success stories
The project is organized by the Bildungswerk der Bayerischen Wirtschaft (bbw) and the education provider IW JUNIOR. The latter has set itself the goal of making young people fit for the future as specialists and managers and preparing them for the working world in as practical a way as possible.
The JUNIOR expert program, for example, is aimed at students in ninth grade and above. Around 15 young people work together in a group. Their task is exciting: They have to work independently to raise capital by selling shares, producing and then selling the products and services on offer.
“In doing so, they have to adhere to certain rules and procedures – just like in real business life. Paying wages, keeping accounts and paying taxes and social security contributions are all part of everyday business life,” the bbw explains on its website. The JUNIOR companies are limited to one school year. After that, they are dissolved and the capital, including any profits made, is distributed to the shareholders.
The results of the JUNIOR programs are impressive. For example, students at the Feodor Lynen High School in Planegg founded the start-up Coveg. They have set themselves the goal of making a contribution to protecting the health of their fellow human beings. In order to ensure better hygiene and contain the virus in times of a pandemic, the young people produce and sell innovative disinfectant dispensers. The business idea of the JUNIOR team at the Wilhelm Hausenstein High School in Munich is also clever. Flashbagz is the name of the student-run company there. It produces and sells environmentally friendly and casual-looking fabric bags.
Many successful business ideas already developed
A digital kick-off event in Bavaria marked the start of the next round, i.e. for the student companies that entered the business world in the second half of the year. In all the years of the JUNIOR project, many successful business ideas have already been developed, Stolz praised. In a video message, the State Secretary of Education wished the participating students every success: “Now you can show what entrepreneurial potential you have. The future belongs to you. Be brave and take the opportunity to fill it with new ideas.”
Michael Mötter, deputy managing director at Bildungswerk der Bayerischen Wirtschaft, is also positive: “We have created an educational chain that extends from early childhood education to training and continuing education and on to the Bavarian Business School. The JUNIOR project fits in perfectly here.” It introduces young people to entrepreneurial thinking and motivates them to act independently. In this way, the bbw builds a bridge between Bavarian companies and young talents. “We promote entrepreneurship – the cornerstone of tomorrow’s economic success,” Mötter said.