EIT RawMaterials & Junior Achievement Europe: Fostering innovation-driven entrepreneurship in the raw materials sector in schools

EIT RawMaterials has teamed up with Junior Achievement Europe to develop a partnership for youth empowerment. JA shares the interest of EIT RM to boost competitiveness, growth and attractiveness of the European raw materials sector via radical innovation and guided entrepreneurship. EIT RawMaterials and JA Europe are empowering young people to come up with solutions to the challenges of the raw materials industry in Europe and to ensure they are equipped with the right skills to turn innovative ideas into real opportunities in this sector. The initiative will run until May 2019 and will equip 1200 young people (15-18 years old) in Central and Eastern Europe with entrepreneurship and STEM skills with the support of 100 professional business volunteers. The scheme is comprised of four parts:

  • Innovation Camps: a one- or two-day interactive event where students work in teams mentored by professional volunteers to come up with solutions to a challenge related to raw materials set by EIT RawMaterials, partner companies and the JA local organisation.
  • The JA Company Programme: a 1-year entrepreneurship education programme.
  • The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass: students will be certified with this international qualification.
  • A case study: JA Europe will also develop a case study focused on scientific and human data, gathering stories from students, teachers, volunteers and parents.

Between February – May 2018, EIT RawMaterials and Junior Achievement Europe organised four Innovation Camps across Bulgaria and Romania with the support of EIT RawMaterials’ partners BASF Romania, Arcelor Mittal Iasi and Veolia.The initiative has so far impacted 228 students from 41 schools involving 22 professional volunteers. The challenge questions addressed issues related to raw materials, recycling of natural resources and the circular economy. Students had the opportunity to improve their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and ability to work in a team, and to generate and present ideas. They also gained a better understanding of how technology, the innovative use of raw materials and responsible behaviour towards the environment can help solve real-world problems and contribute to the success of a business.

Timeline

·       January 2018: Launch of the partnership

·       January – April 2018: Innovation Camps in Romania and Bulgaria

During the Bulgarian Presidency of the European Council

·       May 2018: Section of the schools for the Company Programme

·       June 2018: Training of teachers and materials preparation

·       September 2018 – June 2019: Company Programme + Entrepreneurial Skills Pass roll out

During the Romanian Presidency of the European Council

·       July-August 2019: Preparation of the Case Study