Entrepreneurial education (I) When school projects become successful start-ups

Learn to foster and develop an entrepreneurial spirit, prepare for the future using the "learning by doing" method and inspire, innovate, create... These are the key phrases and words which embody the entrepreneurial education programme of the Jonk Entrepreneuren Luxembourg association which is already part of the curriculum in several schools. We spoke to Stephanie Damgé, the director, about the association’s programmes and values, and we showcase four companies that were created at school and grew into successful companies. 

An introduction to the subject

3 questions for Stéphanie Damgé, director at Jonk Entrepreneuren Luxembourg

Please tell us more about the association, its mission and values...

Jonk Entrepreneuren Luxembourg asbl is an association offering entrepreneurial education programmes for young people aged between 9 and 25. Our goal is to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in young people to better prepare them for the future by calling upon the practical and interactive experiences of volunteers from the business world. Our mission therefore involves inspiring and preparing young people to innovate, create, take initiatives and embrace responsibility. It's all about providing them with the entrepreneurial skills they will need to succeed in the future and build their and our world of tomorrow. Each year, more than 10,000 young people take part with the support of 500 volunteers.

Could you give us more information about the mini-enterprises programme in secondary education and the Young Enterprise Project in higher education?

The objective of both programmes is to develop entrepreneurial skills, notably creativity, perseverance, self-belief, initiative, team spirit and, last but not least, a sense of responsibility. All these skill sets are useful, not only in one's professional life but in personal life too.

Stéphanie Damgé, Jonk Entrepreneuren asbl
© Jonk Entrepreneuren asbl

The mini-enterprises programme is aimed at secondary school pupils aged between 16 and 19. Throughout the school year the pupils learn to create and manage a company by developing products, goods or services in order to place them on the market. They go through all the steps of business management, learn about the different trades and departments of a company and discover how to adapt to the requirements and needs of their company. The young entrepreneurs receive support from a teacher and a coach from the business world. The final of the mini-enterprises is the annual national competition which rewards the best mini-enterprises of the year.

The "Young Enterprise Project" is a programme for secondary school pupils. It is an entrepreneurial learning programme in which groups of young people challenge themselves to identify an opportunity, draw up a business plan and develop an innovative project. 

The participants study the feasibility of their project with the support of professionals and experts (coaches) from the business world. The students are required to present their project to a jury of potential investors on several different occasions. The designated winners will have the opportunity to take part in the European final of this competition.

What do you like the most about working with young creatives and entrepreneurs?

It is more than a job, it's a mission. I do it wholeheartedly; it's a genuine passion that I carry out with the support of a highly dedicated team. My greatest joy and motivation is witnessing the impact and outcome of our initiatives and activities: I take great pleasure from observing these young people develop, watching them tackle professional challenges and integrate into a professional environment. We give them the chance to achieve their goals, mature and find their own way in life. When we see young people flourish in the field, it gives a sense of purpose to our role. But it also works the other way around; the young people inspire us adults owing to their values, ideas and beliefs. This exchange is uplifting and rewarding. It also allows adults to see things differently and to be influenced by younger generations.