What is AYEN?
The Asian Youth Entrepreneurs Network (AYEN) is the brainchild of Dr Marceline Girol, Group CEO of the Katchi Group. AYEN was established with the goal of helping young graduates across the Asia transition smoothly from academia to the corporate world, via Junior Enterprises. AYEN also encourages the development of youth entrepreneurship as a means to tackle the looming Asian employment crisis.
Below are two videos from our youth programs.
Why do we need another platform for youth?
Many youth platforms in Asia focus on different aspects of youth development. Certain organisations do exist who promote youth entrepreneurship but none that we are aware of which do this through the concept of Junior Enterprises.
Why develop entrepreneurship?
As the economies in the Asian region grow ever larger and complex, higher education will play an ever more important role in preparing students for the workforce. However, there has been a problem with the transition from academia to working life. Often, many students enter the workforce armed with the knowledge provided by the curriculum, but little in the way of practical experience.
Second, the impending employment crisis. Existing companies in Asia will not be able to absorb the vast numbers of graduates emerging from institutes of higher education. In fact, many youths are already jobless or underemployed and this will only get worse in the years to come.
We at AYEN see entrepreneurship as a solution to these issues.
Youth in group
Youths work better in a group environment. Benefits of being affiliated with a group include the ability to work in a team. This prepares them for working life, where teamwork is essential. Leadership skills can also be learnt through working in a team.
Another benefit is that of forging a common identity. Members will feel part of their team and learn the value of working to support others.
A third advantage is that of challenging themselves. By working in a team, everyone needs to pull their own weight. This will force members to perform to expectation or risk losing their place in the group.
What is the purpose of AYEN?
Vision: To develop Asia into a hub of entrepreneurs
Objective: To facilitate and become a platform for 120 Junior Enterprises by 2020 in 8 ASEAN countries
Learning by doing
This lies at the heart of what AYEN does. We believe in the concept of students getting their hands dirty. Didactic instruction is all well and good but most people learn faster and better by actually doing the work, putting this together for themselves. Sure, make the mistakes … and learn from them!
This is where AYEN registered members can send us their ideas through a pitch and receive feedback. All submissions received will be evaluated by a panel of experts, who will provide insightful responses as to the viability of the idea, its strengths and shortcomings, and so on.
Mentors are an important aspect of what we do. Mentors allow for a direct transfer of knowledge and experience to the students. This is a way students can learn quickly about a certain topic. All our programmes will have mentoring sessions built in, conducted by qualified mentors from the relevant industry.
Job offers for young entrepreneurs
This section of the website lists all job offers for our entrepreneurs, whether for their junior enterprise or for themselves.
We operate a help desk to which our registered members can send their questions and concerns. Response times depend on when the question is sent and availability of mentor, but we endeavour to reply within 24 hours. Questions must be pertinent to AYEN and its activities.
What is the Katchi Group
the Katchi Group Sdn Bhd is an integrated marketing agency located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Katchi Group has its roots in Europe and is therefore familiar with the concept of Junior Enterprises. Since its inception in 2007, the Katchi Group has been involved in youth development, working with Malaysian private and public sector companies to implement various programmes and projects for the development of Malaysian youth.
Why embark on the youth program?
During our time in Malaysia, we noticed that Malaysian graduates of higher education were grappling with the same issues pertaining to the transition from academic life to working life as were European graduates in the past. Here at AYEN, we want to help the youth of Asia transition into working life with as many skills as possible. The JE is arguably the best way to inculcate into university students the skills and attitudes necessary for working life. So, we brought the concept of Junior Enterprises to Malaysia via the Rebuild It Green competition, as a pilot project to test whether the concept is applicable in Malaysia.
Building on the success of Rebuild It Green, the Asian Youth Entrepreneur Network was established, with the purpose of enlarging the network of JEs in Asia, in cooperation with the two largest JE confederations – the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE) and the Brazilian Confederation of Junior Enterprises (Brasil Júnior).
In 2013, we held our Youth Parliament, also called Revolution Starts Now, as part of the World Marketing Summit 2013. The Youth Parliament involved teams from 10 international schools developing solutions to a selected Millennium Development Goal. These were presented to a panel of esteemed judged, who selected the team from Global Indian International School as the winner.
In 2015-2016, we held Rebuild It Green (RIG), a competition held under the Arena of Youth banner. RIG was hosted by the Ministry of Works Malaysia and organized by MG Conventions and Events Specialist, a subsidiary of the Katchi Group. This construction-related competition culminated with the creation of Malaysia’s first true Junior Enterprise. Launched in November 2015, RIG involved four universities: Asia Pacific University, KDU University College Penang, Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Universiti Teknologi MARA. Teams from these universities were challenged to develop sustainable solutions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, drawing on the severe flooding that took place in northern Malaysia as inspiration. The RIG finale was held in April 2016 and the team from Universiti Teknologi MARA, Revivors, were crowned as the winners, receiving a seed fund of MYR40,000 to establish a JE.
Origin & Definition
According to the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE): A Junior Enterprise is a non-profit civil social organization, formed and managed exclusively by undergraduate and postgraduate students of higher education, which provides services for companies, institutions and society, under the guidance of teachers and professionals with the goal to consolidate and enhance the learning or their members. Junior Enterprises are similar to real companies, counting with the principles of corporate governance like management council and executive board, and own regulation.
Click below to view an interview two representatives from JADE and Brasil Junior conducted with Bernama TV during their visit to Malaysia, where they sat on the jury panel for Rebuild It Green.
Location of the junior enterprises
The first JE, Junior ESSEC, was formed in France in 1967. Shortly after that, in 1969, the first Junior Enterprise confederation, La Confédération Nationale des Junior-Entreprises, was formed out of the combined efforts of six French JEs. From there on, JEs started popping up rapidly across Western Europe, with confederations in those countries following soon after. Once the Iron Curtain fell, Eastern Europe took in the concept of JEs in a big way. To date, JEs in Europe are active in 14 countries, comprising approximately 280 organisations. The Junior Association for Development in Europe (JADE) was established in 1992 to represent and promote JEs worldwide. At the turn of the century, the concept of JEs also made its way across the Atlantic, when JEs started establishing themselves across South America. The first Junior Enterprise was established in Brazil in 1988 and Brasil Júnior was established in 2003. In 2012, the first JE appeared in the United States. However, in Asia, only China and India have any sizable number of JEs.
Click below for map JEs worldwideLocation
Statistics and general information
The statistics for Junior Enterprises are impressive and demonstrate clearly the efficacy of the JE system. As of 2016, there are currently Junior Enterprises operating in 40 countries around the globe, with over 40,000 junior entrepreneurs. In Europe, the birthplace of Junior Enterprises, there are 22,000 junior enterpreneurs operating 280 junior enterprises across 14 countries in Europe. They handle 3,000 projects a year, for a turnover of EUR16 million a year. There currently exist two main JE confederations: the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE) and the Brazilian Confederation, Brasil Junior. We are proud to say that both are our partners. Additionally, the Junior Enterprises of Tunisia and Canadian Confederation of Junior Enterprises are fast coming up.
EJEP, Junior Enterprise of UFSC, performed a project to Água Clara Santa Catarina, with the aim of study and improve their processes in the packaging industry through the Lean Manufacturing philosophy. The productivity of the company was increased by 49%, compared to the previous year.
UCJ, Junior Enterprise of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, worked in a project to structure and expand microenterprises in Africa. Through training, they offered consulting for African companies to plan actions and tests their business models.
What is a junior enterpreneur?
An entrepreneur is defined as a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. A junior entrepreneur in the JE definition is a university student who does so while still in university, with an age around 25. The main idea of these students participating in a Junior Enterprise also is not monetary; rather it is to learn the ropes of the business world while still in a learning environment.
During their time in a JE, students will learn about advertising, competitive advantages, financing, marketing, and product development, among others.
Junior Enterprises are a relatively new concept in Malaysia. Others have come before, but none until now have fully followed the Junior Enterprise concept as standardised by the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises.
The first Malaysian Junior Enterprise recognised by the confederation is MyJE, formed in 2016 by the Revivors team from Universiti Teknologi MARA. The Revivors were the winners of the Rebuild It Green competition and received a seed fund of MYR40,000 (USD10,000) to start MyJE.
Rebuild It Green
Rebuild It Green (RIG) was a construction-related competition held under the Arena of Youth banner. It was organised by MG Conventions & Events Specialists Sdn Bhd, our sister company, and hosted by the Ministry of Works Malaysia. The purpose of the RIG was to develop the next generation of builders in Malaysia, by getting teams from universities to develop solutions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, whether before, during or after one strikes. The winner was given a seed fund of USD10,000 to start up a Junior Enterprise to commercialise their solution. The mechanics of the RIG involved the university teams undergoing mentoring from experienced industry experts whom we fielded, then developing their solutions in consultation with these mentors. The teams also had to provide a plan of what they intended to do as a junior enterprise to commercialise their solutions. Four universities made it to the finals: Asia Pacific University, KDU University College Penang, Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Universiti Teknologi MARA.
Click below to listen to a podcast with three representatives from Revivors, the RIG winning team.
Winner of the RIG
The winning team for RIG was Revivors from Universiti Teknologi MARA. Their winning concept was the Disaster Mitigation and Management Plan, a set of flood disaster management protocols linked to a mobile app which also allows one to purchase disaster relief equipment.
Click below for a press release on the RIG finale.Press release
Outcome and first step
Following their win, the Revivors wasted no time in getting their Junior Enterprise, MyJE , registered with the university and with the Registrar of Companies Malaysia. As of September 2016, the Revivors are approaching local authorities in flood-prone areas to introduce their DMMP. The response has been positive and one local authority has expressed interest in purchasing their DMMP.
There are three important stakeholders in the AYEN plaform: the government (including their agencies), professional bodies and corporations. Here we discuss the role each of them plays
Government and international institutions
Government and international institutions will play an important role in AYEN as these are the enablers for our platform and the conduits to disseminate our messages. Just take the example of demographics; as Asia is a large continent, with many diverse cultures and different languages, it will be impossible to penetrate all markets on our own. This is where educational and entrepreneurship bodies in different countries come into play.DOWNLOAD summarize somy and info
Why government and international institutions provided us their support
In the international arena, AYEN fulfils an important role in promoting youth entrepreneurship. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has placed an important emphasis on entrepreneurship, founding their own bodies and holding summits to promote entrepreneurship. It is seen as a hope for the economic future of Asia. However, very few organisations are promoting entrepreneurship for youth while still in university and none have the links we do to Junior Enterprise confederations. Therefore, we are in the midst of receiving endorsement from international bodies for the AYEN platform. Click on the link to see a summary of our presentation to the VIII Senior Officials Meeting on Youth held in Seam Reap, Cambodia, 26th August 2016.DOWNLOAD booklet
Role of the universities
The most important role is played by the Universities, as they are the incubators for Junior Enterprises. Each Junior Enterprise is linked to a university, as the Junior Enterprise remains with the university after the students graduate. The universities will also provide the professors to perform the day-to-day oversight for the JE’s operations, guide the students, and manage any issues that arise.Competition
Role of the government agencies
Government agencies can assist AYEN is reaching specific segments of the target demographic, e.g. a Ministry of Education can open doors in the education sector to AYEN. This is a necessary step as approaching institutions directly would prove timely and costly. The AYEN platform offers benefits in all directions, to the universities, to corporations, to the government, therefore it is in the interests of government agencies to participate in the AYEN platform.Propose a job
By ‘professional bodies’, we refer to institutes and associations catering to the interests of a specific group of professionals. An example would be institutes of architects, engineers or surveyors for our engineering projects.sponsorship booklet
Why should these professional bodies be involved?
Many of our projects and competitions will be skills-based, such as in the case of our film and engineering competitions held in 2016. Students will be participating in these competitions and their knowledge will in all likelihood be incomplete as they have not yet graduated. Also, being students, they will lack real-world experience. This is where mentors from professional bodies will come in, to impart their knowledge and experience to our student participants. There are additional benefits to professional bodies as well; the chance for members to find future employees and outsource companies among the JEs on our platform.propose a job
Role of jury
Professional bodies will also be the source of jurists to sit on our jury. Our competitions are all judged independently by a panel of jurists drawn from professional bodies. They are the ideal candidates as they have the specific knowledge and experience to properly judge the contestant’s submissions, at any stage of the competition as may be required.ayen space
The AYEN platform also provides feedback on our student members’ submissions, whether for a competition or to our pitching centre. Feedback from professionals is an important aspect of the AYEN platform, as only through such guidance could our members know where they are going wrong.
The role of the private sector and the employability of youth
The private sector’s role in the AYEN platform relates to providing the funding for our activities, the impetus for our competitions and activities. There is much AYEN offers in return: a pool of potential employees; outsource companies offering services below market rate; and the opportunity to enhance CSR initiatives. The private sector is also an ultimate beneficiary of the AYEN platform, for those AYEN student members from a JE who decide to go into full-time employment will be better equipped for working life than their peers who did not participate in a JE. Also as mentioned above, corporations have the opportunity to search through our members for potential employees, knowing full well they the benefits they bring from their JE experience. To realise these ambitions, AYEN provides corporation the opportunity to sponsor students. Click on the link to download our sponsorship booklet.sponsorship booklet
Role of mentors & the jury
Through the AYEN platform, corporations will also have the opportunity to activate a competition. These competitions can be used to source the best creative idea or solutions for any issue the corporation requires solved. Similar to professional bodies, corporations will provide a source for mentors and jury members. Mentors from corporations will have years of experience and the specific knowledge and this is what they can bring to our student members.competition activation
Feedback and ROI
Corporations participating in AYEN can also provide feedback on our student members’ submissions, whether for a competition or to our pitching centre. Feedback from professionals is an important aspect of the AYEN platform, as only through such guidance could our members know where they are going wrong.DOWNLOAD booklet