July 3–5, 2019

Forty Student Teams Gather in France for JA Europe’s Company of the Year Competition 2019

Day 1: Wednesday, July 3
(Scroll down for our coverage of Days 2 and 3.)

Forty student teams from around Europe arrived in Lille, France, today to prepare for the 30th annual JA Europe Company of the Year Competition.

After they settled in, students made their way to the Lille Grand Palais, where they attended the FedEx Access Seminar, hosted by Jérôme Ovion, Vice President Operations, Hubs & Transport at FedEx, and Harald Schoenfelder, Vice President Clearance Operations Europe at FedEx. The two executives discussed trade, job creation, and global logistics, and what the panel of judges will be looking for when they select this year’s recipient of the FedEx Access Award, one of seven prestigious signature awards available to student companies at the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition. Attending the seminar was the first step toward winning the FedEx Access Award.

The competition lineup looks fierce yet again this year, with each of the 40 teams hoping to capture the top award—Company of the Year—as well as the signature awards. The awards ceremony will take place at the gala on Friday, July 5.

Find links to all the teams’ social-media accounts online and read about their products and services below.

  • Albania – Pazo creates handmade decorative and functional art from recycled wood, primarily from Cold War-era military crates that the team collects and cleans.

  • Austria – Stodtbluamlan sells handcrafted jewelry featuring embroidered flowers on fabric printed with a map of the city of Klagenfurt, Austria.

  • Belgium, French – Osmos Beer developed a customizable non-alcoholic beer. Fighting the stereotype that non-alcoholic beer is bland, the company sells flavor packs and offers recipes through its website, allowing customers to be creative and play with different flavor combinations.

  • Belgium, Flemish – Pleduco created a card game called “Funimal” that teaches the Dutch language in a fun, interactive way.

  • Bulgaria – Incendio produces an environmentally friendly alternative to single-use plastic plates with their biodegradable plate made of corn leaves.

  • Cyprus – Ballywool’s chemical-free, reusable woolen balls save time, money, and energy by decreasing laundry washing and drying time, as well as the amount of detergent needed.

  • Czech Republic – Kiš-Kiš produces reusable waxed napkins made of beeswax and 100% cotton that serve as an alternative to single-use plastic bags for sandwiches and snacks.

  • Denmark – Hush-Hush Underwear created bFree, an innovative soft bra with built-in space to discretely hold two sanitary pads, helping teen girls bust through the taboos associated with menstruation.

  • Estonia – Brand produces hair-styling products for men, promoting overall hair health and offering high-quality products at a reasonable price.

  • Finland – Belle Maison NY manufactures high-quality interior design products made of wood and concrete collected from construction site waste. 

  • France – CarBIOrante recycles used vegetable oil, filters and decants it, and sells it as biofuel in the Dominican Republic, creating value for consumers, income for suppliers, and benefits for the environment.

  • Georgia – Llampa produced an innovative night lamp controlled with a mobile phone application that can turn the lamp on and off, as well as change the color of the light.

  • Germany – Meehr Schülerfirma is working to create a cleaner and healthier future through the sale of their reusable grocery bags made from upcycled fishing nets.

  • Greece – Saveat built an innovative web platform that aims to reduce the overall amount of wasted surplus food and aid its redistribution to welfare organizations by informing consumers about products being sold at a discount in nearby supermarkets.

  • Hungary – Mystery Box created Hungary’s first outdoor “escape room,” but rather than escape, the goal is to get into the box.

  • Iceland – Ró-Box focuses on making technology more accessible for everyone through kits that provide educational adventures by learning robotics and programming.

  • Ireland – Save the Seas launched an online store that sells marine- and nautical-themed products. A percentage of the store’s profits go charities fighting marine and ocean pollution around the world.

  • Isle of Man – Gravity aims to reduce plastic pollution through their range of bamboo products, including the bambrush (toothbrush) and bambuds (cotton buds).

  • Israel – Together created an original board game that allows sighted, blind, and visually impaired children to play together. The game conveys a social and educational message, introduces kids to the world of accessibility, and strives for inclusion for every child.

  • Italy – Farm Animal Trade offers an innovative web-based service that simplifies and updates the process of selling farm animals, ensuring the traceability of the origin of the products, reducing costs with strong scalability. The service, offered by F.A.T., is for all breeders, but specifically targets young entrepreneurs who have carried out their first settlements in agriculture.

  • Latvia – Wheelift is a multi-functional and innovative wall mount designed to hold different kinds of sports equipment, including bicycles, skis, snowboards and skateboards of all sizes.

  • Lithuania – BIORAS created air filters filled with activated carbon, which absorbs smells and harmful chemicals and purifies the air. The filters can also be used as fertilizer for gardens, resulting in a zero-waste product.

  • Luxembourg – Say It offers market research to large companies and corporations to aid in customer relationship development. The Say It team conducts consumer interviews and presents them to the client in either video format or written without analysis, providing authentic and raw feedback.

  • Macedonia – MedTech’s Smart Pills Box contains seven compartments to hold medication for each day of the week. Each section comes equipped with a diode that reminds the user via smartphone to take his/her medication. 

  • Malta – Code B’s app BinIT helps manage waste management by providing notifications and information to facilitate waste sorting, as well as reporting.

  • Moldova – QECO Smart Shower developed a device that stores water too cold for showers until it is warm enough to use. It then redirects shower water to the toilet, saving and reusing water. 

  • Netherlands – Green Innovative Gift Goods crafts sustainable gifts using “growing paper” for gift packaging and books. The paper can be planted, producing flowers and reducing the ecological footprints of both the giver and recipient.

  • Norway – Evolant developed Aquabow, a salvage system that keeps vessels damaged at sea afloat until repairs can be made or a floating dock can be delivered to the site.

  • Poland – Take&Tie designs shoelaces in a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing customers to customize their shoes and give new life to older pairs. Sold online and in local retail shops, Take&Tie laces are packaged in eco-friendly boxes.

  • Portugal – Bling Bling’s SunRise is a solar-powered sun station platform with six inputs to charge power banks. Energy is stored in these banks and can be used to charge mobile phones and other small electronic devices.

  • Romania – Neverwaste offers an innovative solution for plastic recycling at home, shredding plastic bottles for easier disposal and recycling and turning plastic waste into 3D base printing material.

  • Russia – Birds’ Inn designs and sells handcrafted birdhouses and bird feeders to provide shelter and food for birds. Customers not only benefit from a new outdoor decoration, but birds also help rid gardens of insects and other pests.

  • Serbia – BioAlly developed a refreshing, whey-based energy drink. It is gluten-free and nutritious, packed with vitamins C and B.

  • Slovakia - ESO created OdneSki, a strap that combines the functionality of ski bands and ski bags. OdneSki keeps skis together and includes a long strap to easily carry skis over the shoulder. When not in use, the product folds up and fits into a pocket.

  • Slovenia – DIY Heavenly Yogurt (Nebeški jogurt) offers an at-home yogurt preparation kit in several flavors. Requiring only one minute of preparation, the kit contains all the ingredients needed to make yogurt at home.

  • Spain – WaterSave created the WaterLight, a device that indicates water usage during showers to encourage reduced consumption. The WaterLight stays green when up to 60 liters are used, turns orange between 60 and 90 liters, and red when more than 90 liters are used.

  • Sweden – Rawstraw produces all-natural, locally harvested, biodegradable straws from Swedish rye (Skåne). The straw is grown and harvested in southern Sweden, and then cut, washed, and packaged.

  • Switzerland – frisi is a regional syrup that comes in a variety of flavors. Produced without any artificial additives, the seasonal assortment of syrups can be enjoyed all year long.

  • Turkey – Entella Company created Mareen, a cylindrical filter that aids in waste capture and removal in the ocean and other bodies of water.

  • United Kingdom – Bathe Bath’s bath infusion tea bags were inspired by influential women. Each bag contains Epsom salt, natural dyes, oats, scented oils, and dried plant leaves and is packaged with tissue paper and an information leaflet about the woman who inspired the recipe.

Day 2: Thursday, July 4

Day Two started with a bang at the packed opening ceremony this morning in Lille.

Students presented their companies to the judges live on stage after the opening ceremony. Next, they set up and participated in the stand exhibition, a trade fair during which students were available to answer questions and provide information, and judges conducted interviews.

Day 2 capped off with a 100th-anniversary celebration for JA, including a huge birthday cake and a presentation by JA Worldwide CEO Asheesh Advani and Board Chair Francesco Vanni d'Archirafi of Citi, ending with as much energy and excitement as it began.

We are so grateful to the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019 sponsors.

We are so grateful to the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019 sponsors.

Day 3: Friday, July 5

This morning, judges held closed-door meetings with student teams to gather more information about their companies and offerings to help them select the Company of the Year, as well as name the winners of the signature awards. JA alumni also gathered to interview students and determine which ten would receive the JA Alumni Leadership Award.

The highlight of the day was the gala dinner and awards ceremony, where the signature awards, the JA Alumni Leadership Award, and the JA Europe Company of the Year recipients were announced.

Students proudly represent their countries on stage.

Students proudly represent their countries on stage.

Ten students received the JA Alumni Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills that impact their team and the JA company:

Ioanna Chrysovitsioti of Cyprus, Anna Jędrzejewska of Poland, Stylianos Boulitsakis-Logothetis of Greece, Mathieu Gonzalez of France, Jakob Otilius Flovikholm of Norway, Anna Bech of Denmark, Gerda Prakopimaite of Lithuania, Popa Cristiana of Romania, Samuel Šlesar of Slovakia, and Kitija Korosevska of Latvia.

2019 JA Alumni Leadership Award Winners

2019 JA Alumni Leadership Award Winners

Saveat from JA Greece took home the first signature award of the night: the AT&T Excellence in IT Award, recognizes the student-company that demonstrates the best innovation-driven concept, with strong business potential and sustainability, as well as viability and scalability. One of JA’s three founders in 1919 was CEO of AT&T, and we’re thrilled to have maintained this connection over the last 100 years.

Saveat, winner of the 2019 AT&T Excellence in IT Award.

Saveat, winner of the 2019 AT&T Excellence in IT Award.

Next up, Meehr Schülerfirma from JA Germany won the BNP Paribas Social Entrepreneurship Award for its reusable grocery bags made from upcycled fishing nets, demonstrating a passion to change social patterns to make them more inclusive and environmentally friendly.

Meehr Schülerfirma, winner of the 2019 BNP Paribas Social Entrepreneurship Award.

Meehr Schülerfirma, winner of the 2019 BNP Paribas Social Entrepreneurship Award.

Hush-Hush Underwear of JA Denmark won the Citi Foundation Client Focus Award for its product, bFree, an innovative soft bra with built-in space to discretely hold two sanitary pads specifically for teen girls. The students demonstrated that, through their company, they’ve created value for their clients, listened to their users, walked in their clients’ shoes to understand their world, and anticipated and served clients’ changing needs.

Hush-Hush Underwear, winner of the 2019 Citi Foundation Client Focus Award.

Hush-Hush Underwear, winner of the 2019 Citi Foundation Client Focus Award.

The Delta Innovation Award recognizes the student company that has an innovative or effective approach for solving a problem or developing a product further, an idea with the potential to prosper and an international prospect, and an idea that’s easy to implement and has a functional business model. This year, the award went to WaterSave of JA Spain for its water-usage alert system WaterLight.

WaterSave, winner of the 2019 Delta Innovation Award.

WaterSave, winner of the 2019 Delta Innovation Award.

The FedEx Access Award went to Entella Company from JA Turkey for its product, Mareen, which aids in waste capture and removal in the ocean. FedEx believes entrepreneurs help build connections that can power the world, and it proudly supports global entrepreneurship education. The FedEx Access Award recognizes student-run businesses that best exhibit the principles of global connectivity.

Entella Company, winner of the 2019 FedEx Access Award.

Entella Company, winner of the 2019 FedEx Access Award.

Rawstraw from Ung företagsamhet–JA Sweden captured the ManpowerGroup “Ready for Work” Award, which recognizes the team that has best developed work-readiness skills during the competition.

Rawstraw, winner of the 2019 ManpowerGroup “Ready for Work” Award.

Rawstraw, winner of the 2019 ManpowerGroup “Ready for Work” Award.

After student teams submitted company reports, participated in panel interviews with the judges, gave on-stage presentations, and partook in the company exhibition stand interviews, the judges selected the winners of the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019.

Third place: Farm Animal Trade from JA Italy.

Farm Animal Trade from JA Italy.

Farm Animal Trade from JA Italy.

Second place: Brand from JA Estonia.

Brand from JA Estonia.

Brand from JA Estonia.

First place: Entella Company from Turkey is the Company of the Year!

Entella Company from Turkey.

Entella Company from Turkey.

Artist’s design to reveal the 2019 Company of the Year winner—Turkey.

Artist’s design to reveal the 2019 Company of the Year winner—Turkey.

All winning teams at the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019.

All winning teams at the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019.

Congratulations to all the winning teams!