Northern European pupils have acquired practical foreign business experiences within the framework of an international project
The international business education project "Central Baltic Student Enterprises without Borders" (CBEwB) is completed and within it pupils from Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia have established more than 50 international joint ventures and participated in international fairs and innovation camps in the project countries.
In total, over a period of three years more than 530 students and more than 200 teachers – Student Company consultants, including 75 teachers – mentors participated in the project.
Jānis Krievāns, Junior Achievement Latvia CEO: “This project gave the opportunity for pupils from participating countries to work in multinational teams already in high school, to establish contacts beyond their own borders, to gain an invaluable experience – to overcome the barriers created by the distance or cultural differences by training perseverance, entrepreneurship, communication and cooperation skills. We have achieved the goals of the project – over 50 joint ventures were created and entrepreneurship educators were trained in the course of the project.”
Products made by international joint ventures this year include dishwashing gloves, wireless speakers, waterproof shoe covers, raincoats and umbrellas for dogs, waist bags, wooden kitchen utensils and special men's shirt holders and many more. The joint ventures also co-operated in sales and marketing, for example, selling each other's products in their own country.
One example of good and positive co-operation is the PetsUnited joint venture (Student Company Facebook profile www.facebook.com/PetsUnitedOfficial/ ), in which Latvian students work with students from Estonia, Sweden and Finland. They have won the best joint venture prize at both Tallinn and Stockholm Fairs this year with the product they created – a home page where animal owners can find carers for their pets during their absence.
PetsUnited participant Jugita Miķelsone from Limbaži Secondary School No 3 in Latvia talks about the main benefits of the project: "The greatest benefit is new friends, entrepreneurial experience, unforgettable trips, fairs and developed English language skills. Our victory surprised us. We did not expect to receive the main prize, but with a huge smile on our lips we are happy to this day! The communication among ourselves seemed to be the most difficult part. While in different countries, going to school and taking part in extracurricular activities, there is not much time to develop the company. However, we overcame difficulties, we found time to agree on what has been done and what to do next. This was an inexpressible experience that cannot be explained in words. Only when you are there you can enjoy those unique feelings!"
As the main benefits of the project, both students and teachers mention the opportunity to gain experience in communicating and working with representatives of other countries and travel, but the challenge is to decide, as a team, on one common goal and achieve good results, as well as learn how to sell the product at an international level.
The project's leading partner is Junior Achievement Estonia and the other partners are Junior Achievement Latvia, Junior Achievement Finland and Junior Achievement Sweden. The project runs from September 2015 until April 2019 within the “Interreg Central Baltic programme” and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.