The Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Malta Foundation, or as it is best known Young Enterprise, is commemorating its 25 years of delivering programmes to promote entrepreneurship from a young age. Its goal is to have something in place locally to push adolescents into pursuing a career in business, whether it involves one working in a company, or one opening up their own business.
As an international non-governmental and non-profitable organisation, Young Enterprise is the ideal opportunity for any teenager interested in becoming an entrepreneur, and taking the necessary formal training to gain success in the field. Nevertheless, as the programme’s coordinator for Maltese sixth forms and University Lara Dougall believes, one does not have to business-oriented to participate. In fact, Young Enterprise is open to all first year sixth formers and University students of any age, irrespective of their course, experience or interests. “Basic knowledge about business is vital for anyone, especially since almost every career path involves important business aspects such as teamwork and communication”. Furthermore, she states that, although participants should be committed to the programme when they enter Young Enterprise, in the long run the experience of it will become an extremely essential tool for one’s future prospects in the world of employment.
Apart from carrying out market research and collaborating with others to formulate a business plan, applicants will also expand on their financial literacy, develop their skills in public speaking, creativity, presentation and problem solving, as well as learning how to make firm decisions and managing problems as efficiently as possible. “Young Enterprise is suitable for practically anyone because it provides key life skills that are not at all limited solely to one’s business ventures”.
Dougall additionally mentions how the programme gives participants their first taste of possible failure in this field, but simultaneously provides a safety net which guarantees no loss of money or effort for the prototype they have created and promoted. Moreover, she disagrees with the notion that Young Enterprise is the reality of business at a smaller scale. “Our project seeks to empower young people by organizing visits to some of Malta’s most renowned companies, who at the same time act as our sponsors.” This is how, she says, students can attain tangible experience and induce their interest in business; because these companies have many a time put forward internships and job opportunities to participants. Having one’s experience in Young Enterprise noted down in their CV will always serve as an asset.
Past participant Janet Barthet initially thought it was all fun and games, but admits she learnt much more than she expected: “My Young Enterprise journey made me grow as a team player. I learnt to appreciate the importance of each and every member of the team and every part of the organizational structure.” Francesca Borg participated when she was a sixth form fresher, and states that through Young Enterprise she improved in public speaking and being able to handle criticism: “At times it might be irritating and frustrating because your company becomes something that you built, and you and your team would know it inside out. But at the end of the day, there’s always room for improvement.”
Later this year, the organization hopes to launch a new programme entitled ALUMNI, which will be offering extended networks to past participants of Young Enterprise in order for them to continue moving upwards in the business sector they wish to work in. Members of ALUMNI will have the opportunity to voluntarily help in the organization of Young Enterprise, and engage in activities including discussions and seminars.
To apply or learn more about Young Enterprise visit www.youngenterprise.org.mt