JA-YE Europe Company Competition 2011
OSLO, August 7, 2011 — FedEx and Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise (JA-YE) Europe have named the Swiss Team “Backbord” as winner of the prestigious FedEx Access Award, presented to the JA-YE student company which best demonstrates understanding and application of global access, leveraging international trade to create jobs, grow small businesses, expand global development and improve the environment. Backbord was recognised for its unique conceptualization around the development and retail of bags and cases made out of worn and used sails. The elegant and sporty bags stand for individuality as well as ecological awareness.
The winners were announced at an award ceremony that marked the end of the three-day-long JA-YE Europe Company of the Year Competition 2011, hosted by JA-YE Norway. This year’s winning team, Backbord, recorded astounding sales levels in Switzerland and Slovakia and have expressed plans to expand to Austria. The judges were highly impressed by the company’s astute business acumen, their international concept, presentation skills and all round professionalism. Backbord surpassed the judge’s expectations with an early understanding of the positive impacts of global trade.
“We are just now in negotiations with an Austrian wholesale trader who would like to act as exclusive importer in Austria. In terms of the future plans of our company, we are already making important preparations to change the company into a limited liability company as well as secure trademark protection,” said Bastian Zarske Bueno, CEO of Backbord.
“Globalization is rapidly changing the world we live in, creating unparalleled access to markets, enhanced opportunities for economic growth and unique synergies of solutions and ideas to improve the quality of life around the world,” said Baerbel Bussenius, external communications manager, FedEx Express Europe, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa (EMEA) “This year, we are proud to present the FedEx Access Award to Backbord as we congratulate them on a successful business strategy well in tune with the demands of today’s dynamic global business environment.”
The JA-YE Company Programme itself provides students aged between 15 and 21 with in-depth experience of hosting a range of entrepreneurial functions from project conceptualisation right through to design and production. Students were also given the opportunity of electing officers, negotiating wholesale and retail prices, calculating break-even points, preparing budgets, paying wages, conducting market research, creating advertising and selling products. At the end of the programme, students liquidated their company, prepared a profit and loss statement and balance sheet and reported on the key lessons learned to a panel of their shareholders.
The small business sector is a key focus market for FedEx. The business start-up rate in the regular population in Europe is 6%. For former participants in JA-YE student companies the percentage of the population starting their own businesses jumps to 15% between the ages of 20 and 29 and to 25% over the age of 29. In the last five years alone, more than one million students have taken part in the Company Programme and with these increased start-up rates they will go on to have a significant positive impact on the economy of Europe.
“We are extremely proud to have the support of companies like FedEx in helping us identify the business leaders of tomorrow. FedEx is a world leader in global trade and access and by sharing their experience, we are giving students real insight into the realities of global business and the positive impact of global access,” said Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA-YE Europe.