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Experience entrepreneurship and learn by doing!

Participants of the JA Company Program offered by JA Finland establish, on their own or as part of a team, a JA company that operates using real money. Running a company develops entrepreneurship, working life, and financial skills in a fun and practical manner.

Whether or not you already have a potential business idea, you can take part in the JA Company Program. Ask your teacher for more information.

Learning Outcomes of the Program

  • The student recognizes the requirements of entrepreneurship and is able to evaluate their own strengths and areas that require development
  • The student develops their entrepreneurship skills, which include sales, teamwork, problem solution, communication, and public speaking, among others
  • The student builds cooperation networks that can further their business operations
  • The student recognizes and evaluates their operation within the company as part of a team
  • The student is able to plan the business operation of the company
  • The student is able to use tools related to the planning of business operations and to draw up the documents related to establishing a company
  • The student can create a business model and plan to support their idea, as well as develop them during the operation
  • The student understands the basic principles of business and develops the operation of the company

Content in the e-learning environment Twid

Mandatory modules of the program

  1. Welcome to the Program
  2. Introduction to Entrepreneurship
  3. Competence
  4. Team
  5. Finding a Business Idea
  6. Modeling a Business Idea
  7. Name and Logo
  8. Starting a Business
  9. Business Plan
  10. Marketing
  11. Digital Marketing
  12. Social Media Marketing
  13. Introduction to Finance
  14. Cost and Profitability Accounting
  15. Budgeting & Bookkeeping
  16. Taxation
  17. Risks and Safety
  18. Sales and Customer Service
  19. Conclusion of the Program

Extra modules

  • Pitching & Presenting
  • Circular economy

Program Phases

Step 1
Introduction to entrepreneurship, skills, and business idea

The contents and modules for this phase

In the first phase, we learn about entrepreneurship and the skills you and your team have and identify business opportunities and think about business ideas.

The contents and modules for this phase:

  • Welcome to the Program
  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship
  • Competence
  • Team
  • Finding a Business Idea
  • Modeling a Business Idea
  • + circular economy as extra
Step 2
Launching your company and refining your business idea

The contents and modules for this phase

In the second phase, we establish our JA companies and model their operation using a business plan. The plan is also used to consider marketing and financial matters.

The contents and modules for this phase:

  • Name and Logo
  • Starting a Business
  • Business Plan
  • Marketing
  • Introduction to Finance
  • Cost and Profitability Accounting
  • Budgeting & Bookkeeping
  • Risks and Safety
  • + Pitching and presenting as extra
Step 3
Monitoring, developing, and reporting your business operations

The contents and modules for this phase

In this phase, your JA company is already running, and we continue to develop it further.

The contents and modules for this phase:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Budgeting & Bookkeeping
  • Taxation
  • Sales and Customer Service
Step 4
Winding up your company, evaluations, and the future

The contents and modules for this phase

At the end of the program, we conduct a self-assessment of our competence and complete the theoretical exam for the JA Company Program. The operation of your JA company is wound down.

The contents and modules for this phase:

  • Conclusion of the Program
  • Other modules that have not been completed

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).

Uskalla Yrittää!

Uskalla Yrittää is the Finnish Championship for the companies in the JA Company Program organized by JA Finland. Each year, the best Finnish JA companies from the regional semi-finals are invited to participate in the final. The Uskalla Yrittää final is the largest entrepreneurship competition for young people in Finland, and the winners get the chance to represent their country in the European Championship. The website for the Uskalla Yrittää competition can be found at www.uskallayrittaa.fi.

Winners 2019

“We bag people’s groceries and help carry heavy bags to the customer’s car. Avot NY exemplifies Finnish customer service at its best.”

“We produce home decor products from concrete and wood. Some of the materials we use come as surplus from construction sites.”

”We want to create a detour from the self-destructive textile industry to more conscious consuming. We offer customers high-end design products that are made from new sustainable material innovations.”

Companies that began their operation in the JA Company Program

Entis 

Entis NY was established during the JA Company Program in 2017 and won the Uskalla Yrittää final for higher education institutions. The company sells house crickets farmed in Kurikka for consumption. The company’s Entis cricket chocolate was the first widely available commercial foodstuff made with Finnish house crickets.

Today, products from Entis’ expanded cricket product range are available at the largest Prisma supermarkets, the eco-store Ruohonjuuri, and their own webstore.

“All in all, the program was a very educational experience! Even good ideas in themselves are not enough but doing things and realizing your ideas are the most important things. The best parts of the program were doing things together, the excitement of the team and the new possibilities and opportunities provided by the program.”

www.entis.fi

Tihkuna

“How to recycle broken umbrellas?”
This problem gave birth to a company run by two dressmaking students. A solution was found, and the company’s first product was in fact the Tihkuna jacket made from broken umbrellas. In the spring of 2019, the company’s range has expanded to include such products as trendy hair scrunchies, which are also made from surplus materials.

“Tihkuna is run by two dressmaking students who are concerned about the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Our company’s most important values are environmental friendliness, quality, and functionality. We design the products, create the patterns, and sew them ourselves here in Helsinki. We manufacture our products on a zero-waste principal, which means that nothing is thrown in the trash.”

In the Uskalla Yrittää final, Tihkuna was awarded the prize for the best company presentation at the upper secondary level, as well as the Taaleri Special Award.

The Great Escape

As part of the JA Company Program organized by JA Finland, four students from Kajaani University of Applied Sciences developed and created an escape room, which proved highly successful. Even at an early stage the escape room had attracted more than one hundred visiting groups.

The Great Escape was named the best higher education company in the Uskalla Yrittää Finnish Championship finals in the spring of 2016. This year, the company is expanding its operation by doubling the area of its escape room in Kajaani and by opening a new branch in Vuokatti.

“You really get the chance to try everything. We have seen so many things from different areas of business and learnt so much. Teamwork skills are the most important thing, as well as working together dynamically. There have been some tough times as well, but we have always gotten past them together. Each of us has become braver.”

www.thegreatescape.fi

Puuroboi

After some hiccups, the overnight oats company Puuroboi was established by upper secondary school students who participated in the JA Company Program in 2016 inspired by the Finland 100 event. After all, oatmeal is a very typical Finnish food. After a few unsuccessful test batches, things began to fall in place both in the kitchen and outside of it.

The business took off with the help of social media marketing. The young entrepreneurs advertised on Instagram and Facebook and shared their story on their website. In the spring of 2017, the company gained more exposure and sales through JA Finland’s Uskalla Yrittää competition and events.

“With Puuroboi, we participated in various business events that always opened new opportunities for us. We took part in such events as Slush and the Job Shadow Day organized by JA Finland, both of which were really amazing experiences with regard to the contacts provided and the general entrepreneurial atmosphere.”

Kiffel 

Jenni Parpala established her cleaning company Kiffel when she took part in the JA Company Program in 2013. At Kiffel, the employees come first, and the company promises, among other things, to halve domestic disagreements, as 45% of couples argue about cleaning the house. The company aims to ensure that the employees have the chance to complete their work properly, with sufficient time, and with pride.

“My company was conceived in JA Finland’s program in 2013, which culminated in being awarded the prizes for the Best Seller and the Best Service. Since then I have continued to develop my company further.”

www.kiffel.fi

Boordigolf

Viljami Virta took part in the JA Company Program at his school in Harjavalta with the business idea of selling reclaimed lake balls. This refers to golf balls lost by golfers in water hazards or other places around the course. Viljami pays divers to retrieve the balls from water hazards and sells them at an affordable price in his online store.

During their first year of operations, Boordigolf sold approximately 70,000–80,000 golf balls and in the spring of 2019 had received reservations for approximately 70,000 balls. Demand for the service exists throughout Europe.

www.boordigolf.fi

Noted JA Company Program alumni in Finland and around the world

Jyri Lindén: The founder of the Nordic Business Forum

Sanni Kurkisuo: Singer, songwriter, musician

Enni Rukajärvi: Snowboarder

Mark Cuban: Investor, the founder of Broadcast.com, the owner of Dallas Mavericks

Frederick A. Deluca: The founder and CEO of Subway

Christina Aguilera: Singer, songwriter, actor

Gene Simmons: Musician and lead figure of the rock group Kiss, actor, businessman

JA Finland (Nuori Yrittäjyys ry, NY) is part of the international Junior Achievement (JA) network.

Today, the umbrella organization operates in 113 countries of six continents.

Each year, its programs reach more than 10,000,000 children and youths around the world.

Junior Achievement celebrates its centenary in 2019.

Some comments on the JA Company Program

“I just wish that something like this had existed when I was at that age.”

– Ilkka Paananen, Supercell

“This is the reason I became a teacher. 
To see young people succeed and surpass themselves.”

– Heini Pennanen, Gradia, Jyväskylä

“I have probably learned most about the financial side. 
I have learned to present and challenge myself more. Now I am better prepared to act in these situations.

– Milla Tölli, student, Nivala upper secondary school

“Today, entrepreneurship education is included in all degrees, at all levels of education, at least to some extent. But is it sufficient? Not necessarily, it could always be increased and improved. This [JA Company Program] is just one good example and method that should be spread throughout the country.”

– Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Minister of Education

FAQ

Below, we have gathered answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the practical implementation of the program.

What is the JA Company Program?

The JA Company Program is an entrepreneurship education program intended for pupils in upper comprehensive school and students in upper secondary and higher education. In the program, the participants establish JA companies that operate using real money, and run them for a semester, a school year, a calendar year or a period of 12 months.

The program is always made part of the education provided by the school and the teacher is in charge of its practical implementation.

Who is the program intended for? At which levels of education can the program be completed?

The program is available to upper comprehensive schools, secondary education establishments, and higher education institutions. The program can be completed at any time if it is offered by the school.

How can I participate in the program?

The program is part of the teaching provided by your educational establishment, which means that you have to take part in the JA Company Program course offered by your school. If your school does not yet offer the course, you can request it from your teacher.

JA companies cannot be established on your own time.

Does the income received from a JA company affect financial aid?

Income from a JA company is included in your personal annual income. If you receive revenue from your JA company, it must be accounted for in your annual income. The income from a JA company may affect the amount of financial aid you receive. Check the income limits on the Kela website.

Can I establish a JA company on my own?

Yes. We recommend that each JA company has 2–8 members, but if you wish, it is also possible to establish a JA company alone.

Can I take part in the program more than once?

Generally, the program can only be participated in once during comprehensive school, upper secondary school, vocational education or higher education.

However, JA Finland does allow participants to take part in the program again with a new business idea, which is demonstrably different from the previous idea. In addition, the name of the JA company must be different than the name used previously. In its instructions, the Finnish Tax Administration states that the operating period of a JA company is limited to a maximum of 12 months.

The final decision regarding participation in the program is made by the educational institution, as the JA activities must be part of the education provided by said institution.

Can I join the program with an already existing company?

No. The business idea or field of business of a JA company cannot be the same as those of an existing company. The business idea of a JA company cannot be related to a field, which an actual existing company has reported as their line of business in the Trade Register. Additionally, the name of a JA company cannot be the name of an already existing company.

What type of companies are the JA companies?

The JA companies are not officially considered companies, and therefore do not have business IDs. The operation of the JA company is not considered an economic activity. If the JA company sells products or services during the program, the generated income is considered personal to the participants.

Are the JA companies registered into official business registers?

The JA companies are not officially considered companies. Thus, the JA companies are not registered with the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) and are instead only registered into the register maintained by the program.

How are the JA companies taxed?

The JA company in itself does not pay taxes, and instead the revenue generated by the company is divided amongst the members of the company as the operation is wound down.  The divided revenue constitutes taxable income for the members, which must be reported on the personal tax return under other income. Additional information is available in the toolbox.

Is there a limit for the turnover of a JA company?

The turnover of a JA company is limited to 10,000 euros. If turnover exceeds 10,000 euros, the JA company is liable to pay VAT on the entire amount, which means that the operation of a JA company must be wound down if approaching the limit.

Are the JA companies taxable for VAT purposes?

If the turnover of a company remains below 10,000 euros for the year, it is not liable to pay VAT.

The JA companies are not allowed to make VAT deductions, which means that they cannot, for example, deduct the VAT of any purchased materials. The prices with which products or services of JA companies are sold to customers do not include VAT.

What is the initial equity of a JA company?

The initial equity of a JA company consists of the money invested by the founders of the company. Each founder is allowed to invest 10–100 euros in the company. The maximum initial equity of a JA company is limited to 1000 euros.

Do the JA companies have insurance coverage?

During registration, JA Finland acquires a liability insurance policy for each JA company from Keskinäinen Vakuutusyhtiö Fennia, which includes coverage for both business and product liability. The liability insurance applies throughout the operation of the JA company.

These policies provide cover for personal injury and property damage to third parties during the course of business, for which the company is legally liable. The deductible for the policies is either 600 euros or 1,000 euros. More information about the insurance policies is available in the toolbox.

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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