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The JA Company Program and JA companies provide young people the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship in a safe environment and under instruction as part of their education. The JA company is not an actual business, but a tool used for entrepreneurship education at the school. As JA entrepreneurs, young people are given the opportunity to realize their business ideas, which may be based on their interests and personal skills.

The JA Company operates using real money and sells its products or services to customers. This increases the efficiency of the program, improves the young people’s motivation toward the operation, and introduces elements from the business world. At the same time, the program encourages the young people to become more active and take initiative.

In addition to an unforgettable learning experience, the young people receive a certificate from JA Finland, which specifies the skills learned during the program. The certificate makes an excellent addition to any young person’s CV.

The JA Company Program is a learning experience for young people. We strongly believe that the program prepares young people for working life in a versatile manner. As the guardian, your most important task is to be interested, listen, ask questions, and provide encouragement and compliments.

JA companies in brief

  • A JA Company can be established by a young person participating in the JA Company Program at their educational institution.
  • The sales of a JA company typically amount to 100–10,000 euros. The turnover of a JA company is limited to 10,000 euros.
    • The JA companies are not taxable for VAT purposes and do not as themselves pay taxes.
    • The work performed by a JA company is not eligible for the tax credit for domestic help.
  • The revenue from a JA company is considered personally generated income for the participants.
  • JA Finland has acquired business and product liability insurance policies for the JA companies. More information about the insurance is available here.
    • Fennia offers the young people participating in the program accident insurance for the duration of the program. Read more here.
  • JA companies can be established alone or in a group.
  • The JA companies are not officially considered businesses, and therefore do not have business IDs.
  • The operation of the JA company is not considered engaging in an economic activity.

What lessons are learned during the program?

Working life skills and an entrepreneurial attitude
Communication, teamwork, and leadership skills
The process of turning an idea into a product
Finding your strengths through learning-by-doing
Learning about a company's approach in practice
Solving problems and overcoming challenging situations
Business operation skills; marketing and financial management

Would you like to become an advisor to a JA company?

The JA companies seek advisors who can provide support and a sparring partner. The advisor can be a parent, relative or a local entrepreneur, for example. Where necessary, the advisors are supported by JA Finland.

The JA company does not need an advisor who has detailed knowledge of each aspect of entrepreneurship, but a person who is interested in sharing the experience of entrepreneurship and helping to find the answer to questions the JA company might have. The advisor has no legal responsibility for the business operation.

Tasks of an advisor

The tasks of an advisor include commenting on ideas, suggesting improvements, finding potential contacts with local operators, providing advice and suggestions for improving the production, marketing and sales of the JA company. As an advisor, you will meet with the JA company at agreed times.

When you discuss the operation of the company with the young people, you might notice that you are also learning new things and are introduced to the problems a new company might encounter as well as the interests of the young people.

Why become an advisor?

  • You get to follow along as the participating youths grow as entrepreneurs, provide support for the challenges of entrepreneurship, and celebrate their successes.
  • You can provide support to young people.
  • You gain experience of mentoring and coaching.

If the advisor is also an entrepreneur, their company could act as a sponsor to the JA company.

Impact

I learned how to take responsibility 82 %
Importance of an entrepreneurial attitude 77 %
My own initiative increased 74 %
My teamwork skills improved 68 %
The program provided a realistic experience of entrepreneurship 59 %
I understood the value of my work 58 %
Strengthened my employability skills 54 %

Extracts from the program’s primary and secondary feedback survey averages from 2013 to 2018 (N: 2962).

Read about the research regarding the JA Company Program

Long-term entrepreneurship education reinforces the capacities required in working life, supporting all types of learning at the same time. Research already shows that skills are improved through activity, says Virpi Utriainen, the CEO of JA Finland.

The two-year ICEE study included 12,000 participants from five countries (Belgium, Italy, Latvia, Finland, and Estonia). The study by JA Europe was conducted in cooperation with the Ministries of Education of the participating countries and it was supported by funding from the European Commission’s Erasmus+ program. The study included 2,400 Finnish participants.

In Finland, the difference between the youths who participated in entrepreneurship education and the control group in terms of multi-disciplinary competence, working life capacity, and school success was significantly larger than elsewhere in Europe.

Multi-disciplinary competence is created through practical work

The study also reveals that the youths who participated in the JA Company Program had a better general understanding of the benefits of different subjects and modules than those youths who had not participated in the program.

Applying things learned in school to everyday situations is beneficial to understanding their significance, which results in better success at school. While developing key competencies (such as verbal communication, mathematical skills, decision-making) is not the main objective of the JA Company Program, the impact was clear in Finland. For example, the ability to make decisions is significantly improved through transversal learning. 

Entrepreneurship education interests teachers

Entrepreneurship education is a modern and practical way of teaching. Entrepreneurship education can be easily integrated into various subjects. These two themes dominated the responses of the Finnish teachers who participated in the study. Majority of the teachers emphasized the need to focus on experience-based methods. Some teachers highlighted the pedagogical advantages of this learning method: they began to understand their students better, which changed the nature of their relationship.

The ICEE study examined the impact of the JA Company Program on youths aged 15–20 in upper secondary schools and vocational schools. The Finnish schools that participated in the study included Kainuu Vocational College, Etu-Töölö Upper Secondary School, Business College Helsinki, and the Raisio Regional Education and Training Consortium Raseko.

JA Finland provides programs that support the objectives of curriculums for reinforcing the entrepreneurial attitudes, working life skills, and personal financial management of children and young people from pre-primary to higher education – learning by doing. www.nuoriyrittajyys.fi.

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