skip to Main Content

Competitions are a natural part of the operation of a JA company: by participating in competitions, the company gets an opportunity to demonstrate their competence, develop their operations, and receive feedback from specialists in the business community.

The competitions have dedicated categories for companies from comprehensive schools, as well as upper secondary and higher education institutions. The winners are selected by a panel of judges consisting of representatives from the business community. All competitions have a monetary prize and some competitions also offer the chance to participate in the Uskalla Yrittää final as an additional prize.

DL 13.3.2020 23:59

Late submissions for the competitions will not be considered.

Participation

The companies can take part in the competitions by submitting files through the profile of their JA company.

Best video pitch

“The best entrepreneurs made me feel like the train was leaving the station whether I got on board or not.” – Jon Callaghan, True Ventures.

The Best Video Pitch competition aims to find the JA companies who are able to present the key points of their business idea most effectively in the form of a short video.

You can participate in the competition by filming a video pitch for your JA company that is no longer than four minutes. The contents of the pitch and your speech are judged in the competition. The technical execution of your video does not influence the judging.

The completed video is uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and a link to the video is added to your profile on this website.

All entries must be submitted by March 13 at the latest. The competition has dedicated categories for comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools, and higher education institutions. Your pitch may be prepared in Finnish, Swedish or English.

JA Finland will perform prequalification for the pitches and the overall winners will be selected by the panel of judges.

Included below is a possible structure for your pitch. More information about pitching can be found on the Twid platform.

  • Opening (the name of your JA company)
  • Problem (what problem does the customer have?)
  • Solution (what is your solution to the problem?)
  • Business model (How does your JA company make money: who are your customers / how much does your product or service cost?)
  • Competitors (Who are your competitors? How does your JA company differ from the competition?)
  • Team (What skills does your team have?)
  • Finish (The slogan of your JA company)

In finding the best pitch, the judges will pay attention to the following points:

Problem and customer

  • Has the company identified clear target customer groups for their idea?
  • Has the company identified the customer’s problem?
  • Does the problem actually require solving?

Product/service i.e. the solution

  • Is the company’s solution presented clearly?
  • Does the product/service solve the problem presented above?
  • Does the company explain how the solution benefits the customer?
  • Does the solution differ from existing solutions in some way?

Business model

  • Is the business model of the company clearly defined and realistic?
  • Is the benefit provided by the product/service to the customer worth the price?
  • Has the company considered their pricing and the basis for it?
  • Has the company identified different channels for reaching customers?

Competence

  • Does the company explain their competence?
  • Does the company have the necessary competence to realize the idea?
  • Has the company considered additional skills they might need?

Structure of the pitch

  • Does the pitch have a clearly defined and logical structure?
  • Does the pitch have a memorable opening and finish?

Feasibility

  • Does the company explain how they have tested the feasibility of their idea?
  • Would you invest in realizing the company’s idea?

Comprehensive education

The competition for comprehensive schools do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

Secondary education

The maximum age limit for the competition for upper secondary education institutions is 25 years.

Higher education

The competition for higher education institutions do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

The competition has two prizes:

  1. A monetary prize of 200 euros, which is awarded to the winners for developing their business operation. The winning JA company must invoice JA Finland for the awarded amount before April 30, 2020.
  2. The opportunity to reach the Uskalla Yrittää final without going through the semifinals (the prize does not include travel or participation costs). The final is held in Helsinki, April 22–23, 2020.

Winners will be selected separately in the comprehensive, upper secondary, and higher education categories.

Best Business Idea

“Coming up with an idea is easy. Execution is what ultimately makes your business idea great. Even a good idea needs to be executed in the best possible way.” – Ilkka Lavas, serial entrepreneur.

A good business idea is based on an existing problem your customers have and would like to have resolved. The Best Business Idea competition aims to find an idea that is current, solves a practical problem, and is being realized by a functional company.

During the school year 2019–2020, the competition for higher education institutions has the circular economy as a specific priority and the competition is part of the EIT RawMaterials Circular Economy project.

The companies can participate in the competition by producing a written description of the company’s business idea. The content of the submission and the profitability and realization of the business idea are judged in the competition. The format of the submitted work depends on the category as follows:

  • Comprehensive schools: A PowerPoint presentation on the company (max. 10 slides)
  • Upper secondary schools: A business plan
  • Higher education institutions: a pitch deck for your company (max. 15 slides)

The competition entries are submitted through the company’s profile on this website after signing in.

All entries must be submitted by March 13 at the latest. The competition has dedicated categories for comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools, and higher education institutions. Your submission can be produced in Finnish, Swedish or English.

JA Finland will perform a prequalification and the winners will be ultimately selected by the panel of judges.

Your PowerPoint presentation must at least answer the following questions regarding the operation of your JA company.

Description of the business idea

  • What are the needs of the customers your idea satisfies? What problems does it solve?
  • Compared to your competition, what is new/different about your business idea?

Description of competence

  • Does the company have the skills to realize the idea?
  • What can the company do by itself and where does it need outside help?
  • What additional competence does the company require?

Description of the product/service

  • What is the product/service that the company produces?
  • How does it benefit the customers?

Customers

  • Who are the customers of the company? How many (potential) customers are there? Where can they be reached (physically/online)?

Marketing and sales

  • How could the product/service be marketed to ensure that you reach the right target group?
  • What are the most important sales channels of the product/service?

Financial matters

  • What is the price of the product/service? What is the price based on?
  • How much of the product/service do you need to sell for your operation to be profitable?

These points are used to create a PowerPoint presentation with a maximum of 10 slides that is submitted as your entry to the competition.

Your business plan describes the resources and steps required for your company’s success. It is essential to chart the expenses related to the operation of your company realistically, create a budget for them, and to plan how you can cover those expenses with the planned operation in a concrete manner.

It is perhaps even more important in your plan to determine where your customers come from and why they would buy the service or product your company offers. A well-executed business plan provides an idea of the profitability of the company and its future prospects.

Contents of the business plan:

  • Description of the business idea
  • Description of competence
  • Description of the product/service
  • Customers and their needs
  • Line of business and the competitive situation
  • Size of the market
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Risks
  • Immaterial rights
  • Financial calculations

You can download a template for the business plan here.

A pitch deck should provide the essential information as is, without a representative of the company there to elaborate. Excellent pitch decks are coherent, tell a story, are visual, and typically consists of 10–14 slides.

Pitch decks are usually intended for investors, so you should prepare your submission with investors in mind.

A pitch deck can include the following elements, for example:

  • Title slide
  • Problem and current solutions
  • Solution and value proposition
  • Validation
  • Markets
  • Business model
  • Team
  • Financial figures
  • Competitor analysis
  • Future
  • Request

In finding the best business idea, the judges will pay attention to the following aspects, which are emphasized slightly differently based on the category.

Criteria for comprehensive education

  • The idea is interesting, important, and current
  • The idea has takers, i.e. customers, and demand (this should be justified or verified)
  • The idea is supported by a good team
  • The company has the opportunity and the competence to test the idea in practice (resources, facilities, supplies, etc.)
  • The PowerPoint presentation is well-made, and the different sections have been sufficiently answered.

Criteria for secondary education

Listed below are the criteria and questions regarding the best business idea, which are used by the judges to come to a decision.

Innovation, value creation, and marketing

  • What is the problem the customers have that your idea solves?
  • Is the JA company’s product/service innovative?
  • Has the JA company engaged in market research or asked for feedback from the customers?
    • Has the product/service been developed further based on feedback?
  • What marketing channels does the JA company use? Why did the company decide to use these channels? Has the company reached customers through the channels?

Development and customer-orientation

  • Who is the customer for the product/service provided by the JA company?
  • Has the product/service been considered from the perspective of a potential customer?
    • What is the additional value the product/service provides the customer?

Ambition and skills

  • Does the JA company have a clearly defined operational plan?
  • Has the JA company specified objectives for itself?
  • How is the JA company organized?
    • Does each member of the company have a clearly defined role?

Key financial figures

  • What are the key financial figures of the JA company?
  • What is the profit margin of the product/service?

Criteria for higher education

Listed below are criteria and questions regarding the best business idea, which are used by the judges to come to a decision. The criteria are presented in English.

Momentum, Traction & Expertise

  • Your timeline and milestones to date, growth metrics are key at early stage

Market opportunity

  • What business/space are you in? What is the total market size?
  • Clearly define who are your customers? What are the trends and insights that define the market?

The problem & current solutions

  • What customer needs do you fill?
  • Define the real problem you are solving and how it’s solved now.

Your solution

  • How good is your solution?
  • Is your solution doable and realistic?
  • Does it solve the problem?

Business Model

  • How well the key revenue streams are presented, do they feel realistic?
  • How will you grow your business?

Team & Key Stakeholders (Investors, Advisors, Partners)

  • Is the team balanced, have the managed to recruit advisers and other partners?

Financials

  • How solid are the financials, are the any proof of income?

Competition

  • Who are your competitors and how are you different?
  • Where are you positioned in overall market?

Investment

  • What would you need next? What is your ask?

Circular Economy in the idea (EIT RawMaterials Circular Economy -project)

  • Projects that consider the whole value chain and life cycle of a product or service, such as conception, supply and/or manufacture as well as responsible consumption and/or disposal.
  • We are looking for projects that use design or creative thinking to develop smart solutions in terms of sustainability, especially those which consider resource efficiency or substitution.
  • Societal or environmental impact is especially valued.

Comprehensive education

The competition for comprehensive schools do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

Secondary education

The maximum age limit for the competition for upper secondary education institutions is 25 years.

Higher education

The competition for higher education institutions do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

The competition has two prizes:

  1. A monetary prize of 200 euros, which is awarded to the winners for developing their business operation. The winning JA company must invoice JA Finland for the awarded amount before April 30, 2020.
  2. The opportunity to reach the Uskalla Yrittää final without going through the semifinals (the prize does not include travel or participation costs). The final is held in Helsinki, April 22–23, 2020.

Winners will be selected separately in the comprehensive, upper secondary, and higher education categories.

Best Online Presence

The Internet is an important marketing and communication channel. A company’s presence on the Internet typically consists of websites, blogs, and social media platforms.

The Best Online Presence competition aims to find a JA company that has a compelling presence online and on social media platforms. The JA company has identified the channels where their target audience can be found.

You can participate in the competition by listing your company’s websites in your profile and choosing to enter the competition.

Your JA company is not required to use all available social media platforms and should instead focus on the services that are the most important for your operation.

All entries must be submitted by March 13 at the latest. The competition has dedicated categories for comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools, and higher education institutions.

JA Finland will perform pre-qualification and the overall winners will be selected by the panel of judges.

  • Web page and online store
  • Blog
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Email marketing

Internet marketing does not consist of a random assemblage of social media platforms, ads or marketing tactics, and should instead be a systematic way of operating.

In finding the company with the best Internet presence, the judges will pay attention to the following points: Judging focuses on the entirety instead of a single element of your online presence.

Contents

  • The contents in various channels serve the business idea of the company.
  • The contents look like the JA company, but are produced in a professional manner.
  • The JA company utilizes various tools in content production (text, images, videos).

Planning and activity

  • The JA company has actively published contents through various channels.
  • The information included on the channels used by the JA company is up to date.
    • The contact information of the JA company is made available through various channels to facilitate contacting the company.
  • The JA company has an online presence.

Channels and customers

  • The JA company has chosen the channels they use in accordance with their target audience.
    • The JA company’s target groups are clearly indicated by the channels.
  • The JA company engages in dialog with their customers through various channels.

Comprehensive education

The competition for comprehensive schools do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

Secondary education

The competition for secondary education do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

Higher education

The competition for higher education institutions do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

The competition has one prize:

  1. A monetary prize of 300 euros, which is awarded to the winners for developing their business operation. The winning JA company must invoice JA Finland for the awarded amount before April 30, 2020.

Winners will be selected separately in the comprehensive, upper secondary, and higher education categories.

Best Graphic Identity

The graphic identity of a company creates the first impression. It generates the desire to know more about the company. The identity of your company has major significance for your image, credibility, and appeal.

A good graphic identity reinforces the image of the company, supports the business idea, considers the target groups, and is recognizable, distinct, clear, consistent, and individual.

The best graphic identity competition aims to find the JA company that has created the best graphic identity for itself. In practice, this means the logo of the JA company, the fonts, the general color scheme, and the manner in which these elements are used in various materials.

You can participate in the competition by submitting a file where your graphic identity is used. The various elements and applications for graphic identity are presented below.

All entries must be submitted by March 13 at the latest. The competition has dedicated categories for comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools, and higher education institutions.

JA Finland will perform prequalification and the overall winners will be selected by the panel of judges.

The most important elements of your graphic identity include the logo, label, colors, typography, and images. The company uses these elements that correspond to their graphic identity in printed materials, websites, posters, and brochures.

Examples of where graphic elements are used:

  • Posters
  • Brochures
  • Business cards
  • Price lists or letter layouts
  • Print ads
  • Digital ads (such as banner ads and social media posts)
  • Websites
  • PowerPoint presentations and templates
  • Graphic instructions

A JA company can participate in the competition by submitting a file, in which the graphic identity created for the company is used.

In finding the best graphic identity, the judges will pay attention to the following aspects.

Image

  • The graphic identity of the JA company supports its product or service.
  • The graphic identity supports the image of the JA company.
  • The graphic identity looks like the JA company, but is produced in a professional manner and inspires confidence.

Consistency

  • The graphic identity is consistent, and the JA company uses similar graphic shapes and elements in different contexts.
  • The different graphic elements can be easily adapted to various communications materials as well as for the needs of sales and marketing.

Submission

  • The submitted work is of good quality and its purpose is obvious.
  • In addition to the graphic elements, the other elements of the work are also well produced.
    • For example, if the submitted work consists of a poster or brochure, the advertised product or service is clearly indicated by the work.

Comprehensive education

The competition for comprehensive schools do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

Secondary education

The competition for secondary education do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

Higher education

The competition for higher education institutions do not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

The competition has one prize:

  1. A monetary prize of 300 euros, which is awarded to the winners for developing their business operation. The winning JA company must invoice JA Finland for the awarded amount before April 30, 2020.

Winners will be selected separately in the comprehensive, upper secondary, and higher education categories.

Uskalla Yrittää -semi-finals and final

Uskalla Yrittää is the Finnish Championship for the companies in the JA Company Program organized by JA Finland. The final is the largest annual entrepreneurship competition for young people. The next final will be held in Helsinki, April 22–23, 2020. The finalists are selected in the regional semi-finals held in January–March.

The official website of Uskalla Yrittää can be found at www.uskallayrittaa.fi.

The final consists of three parts: A 4-minute company presentation, a public trade fair, and an interview by the panel of judges.

The companies participating in the final are selected in the regional Uskalla Yrittää semi-finals held throughout Finland from January to March. The semi-finals take place in a trade fair setting. In the semi-finals, specialists from the local business community choose the winners who go on to compete in the national final for the Finnish championship.

The winners of the Best Video Pitch and Best Business Idea competitions are also offered the chance to participate in the final.

In both the semi-finals and the final, the JA companies are judged based on the following criteria. In addition to the overall competition, in the semi-finals the companies may also be awarded in other categories.

In the final, the panel of judges focuses on the operation and learning of the JA companies.

Assessment of operations

Innovation, value generation, marketing

  • Is the JA company’s product or service innovative?
  • Can the JA company’s idea also succeed outside Finland?
  • Has the JA company’s marketing been carried out in a sensible way?
  • Has the JA company done market research or asked for feedback from customers? Has the product or service been developed on the basis of feedback?
  • What marketing channels does the JA company use? Why are the chosen channels used? Have customers been reached via the channels?
  • If the JA company carries out reselling, in what ways does this generate added value for their own clients?
  • Are the students able to say why their product or service is needed? What customer problem does it solve?

Product/service, development, customer-orientation

  • Where did the idea come from originally and how has the idea become business activity?
  • Who is the customer of the JA company’s product or service?
  • Has the product/service been thought of from the potential customer’s perspective? What added value does it generate for the customer?

Goal-orientedness, planning, administration

  • Does the JA company have a clear operating plan?
  • Has the JA company set itself clear goals and have they been followed actively during the academic year?
  • How is the JA company structured? Do all the members have clear roles?
  • In what way does the JA company track its own activities? Is some sort of system in use?

Financial performance

  • What are the JA company’s most important key financial figures? What sort of profit does the product or service have?
  • Do all JA company members understand the company’s finances?
  • Does the JA company know the financial factors that affect price and costs?

The revenue and company profit during the academic year must be considered, as they show the company’s potential and are proof of work that has been done. The size of the profit alone is not of great importance as ideas are different and the potential they have for making money during the academic year may depend on the location.

Assessment of learning

Group work

  • Have the JA company’s members understood the importance of group work and the influence of the individual on the group’s activities?
  • Are all members actively involved in the JA company’s operations?
  • Are the JA company’s members proud of their work and achievements?
  • Has the JA company done cooperation and networked with other actors? For example, this could be with other businesspeople in the same geographical area.

Reflection and assessment of one’s own learning

  • Are the JA company’s members able to talk about the things they have learnt during the JA year?
  • Have the JA entrepreneurs learnt from each other and supported each other during the year?
  • Has the JA company faced challenging situations during the academic year? How did it deal with them?
  • Has the JA company made mistakes? What did it learn from them and did this affect the company’s operations?
  • Has the JA company improved its operations during the year?

Presentation and interaction

  • Does the JA company present itself convincingly?
  • Do the JA entrepreneurs show an entrepreneurial attitude?
  • Does the JA company interact with others clearly?

There are no age limits for participation in the semi-finals. Some age limits apply to the Uskalla Yrittää final.

  • The final for comprehensive schools does not have a minimum or maximum age limit.
  • The maximum age limit for participation in the final for upper secondary education institutions is 25 years.
  • The final for higher education institutions does not have a minimum or maximum age limit.

The lower age limit for the JA Europe Company of the Year (European championship for comprehensive schools and upper secondary education) competition is 15 years and the upper age limit 21 years. JA companies with members outside of these age limits cannot be selected for the European final.

The lower age limit for the JA Europe Enterprise Challenge (European championship for higher education institutions) competition is 18 years and the upper age limit 29 years. JA companies with members outside of these age limits cannot be selected for the European final.

The winners of the Uskalla Yrittää semi-finals are awarded a place in the Uskalla Yrittää final in Helsinki and a diploma.

The grand prize in the Uskalla Yrittää final consists of a place in the European championship, including travel and accommodation for the winning company and their teacher. In addition to the grand prize, the final also has several signature awards, which include monetary prizes.

Back To Top