Nikolaas Baeckelmans, Vice President EU Affairs, ExxonMobil
Recently appointed as member of JA Europe’s Board of Directors, I am proud to represent ExxonMobil in its quest to foster a diverse workforce of highly talented individuals. ExxonMobil is a global company with more than 70,000 employees, most of them scientists and engineers as the energy sector is extremely high-tech.
Nicolas Huss, CEO Visa Europe
Amsterdam was recently the focal point for the world of financial literacy. Two major events took place there. These attracted royalty, politicians, academics and business people, like myself. All joined the debate on how to teach young people to be financially resilient.
I joined the board of Junior Achievement Europe at one of those events, the organisation’s annual general meeting. My motivation is simple. I've participated in its programmes before. I've seen the benefits to students and volunteers. And, I want to help it tackle the digital future. More on that below.
Merja Kyllönen, Member of European Parliament, Finland
Last week, through the JA Back to School initiative, I had the opportunity to visit a vocational secondary school in Kajaani, Finland. It was quite different from my own school time – of which I mostly remember the strict timetables and classrooms. I was very impressed with “YritysAmis” and their emphasis on building entrepreneurial attitudes and cooperative skills. Learning environments have been renewed with the aim to make students more entrepreneurial and less confined to traditional classrooms.
Dr. Vera Demary, Head of Research Unit “Structural Change and Competition”, Cologne Institute for Economic Research, Germany
Despite all the effort, data clearly shows that Europe is lagging behind the US when it comes to entrepreneurship and founding new companies. It is common knowledge that there are two main obstacles to becoming an entrepreneur in Europe: the availability of venture capital and administrative hurdles.
Thomas A. Schmid, Chief Operating Officer, Hyundai Motor Europe
Europe has been experiencing turbulent times, both politically as well as economically. At the same time, we have seen the region living up to the challenges. Just look at the countries that were struggling most with the Euro crisis: their economies are mostly on the upswing again. That’s an important trend for all Europeans – and in particular for the young who, despite their good education, have found it hard to secure work.