Higher Education

Higher education in the AYEN context refers to institutes of tertiary education – colleges, universities, polytechnics, etc. The important distinction is that these institutes must be offering advanced degree programmes, such as Masters.

Importance of higher education

Higher education improves an individual's quality of life. Studies show that, compared to high school graduates, college graduates have longer life spans, better access to health care, better dietary and health practices, greater economic stability and security, more prestigious employment and greater job satisfaction, less dependency on government assistance, greater knowledge of government, greater community service and leadership, more volunteer work, more self-confidence, and less criminal activity and incarceration.

The employment market

Employment growth is on a general decline, with some countries feeling the pinch as labour force expansion outpaces employment growth. In ASEAN, an example is Malaysia: in 2015, the labour force expanded by 1.7 per cent whereas employment growth was only 1.3 per cent. Another is the Philippines: employment declined by 109,000 jobs, leading to considerable rise in underemployment. Thailand and Vietnam have also experienced quarter-on-quarter declines in employment growth.

Employability of the students

The slowdown in employment growth translates to young people in the Asian region facing considerable challenges in finding decent jobs. While unemployment is generally low, this is something that is set to increase in the future.

Asia currently has 36 million unemployed youths – more than half of the region’s unemployed persons. Underemployment is estimated at 300 million youths. This is a situation replicated worldwide: 621 million youths today across the world are not employed, in education, or training (NEETs). To keep the world’s youth employed, 600 million jobs will need to be created – 5 million jobs a month for the next ten years.

To drill down further, Sri Lanka has the highest rate of youth unemployment, at 21.4%. In ASEAN, this distinction falls to Indonesia, with a youth unemployment rate of 18.3%. Malaysia stands at 10.4 percent.

Entrepreneurship in Asia

Entrepreneurship is a solution embraced by various governments across Asia to the upcoming youth employment crisis. Most importantly, in these times of instant connectivity and shifting paradigms, entrepreneurship has come to the forefront as so many young Asians select this approach to a career rather than the traditional model of taking over the family business or seeking full-time employment. Indeed, the impact is there. The list of youth entrepreneurs is ever-growing as more and more start-ups stay in business beyond the 10-year life expectancy of most start-ups. The world statistics on youth entrepreneurship show that nearly half of the world’s entrepreneurs are between the ages of 25-44. There are plenty of role models for young Asians. In China, Jack Ma is a household name; India has Sunil Mittal; Malaysia has Tony Fernandez; Henry Sy in the Philippines; Chareon Sirivadhanabhakdi in Thailand; and so on. While well past their youthful years, these entrepreneurs blazed the trail for those to follow, showing that it can be done.

Connecting the academic and professional world

AYEN works in two areas: helping students to transition to working life and promoting youth entrepreneurship. The latter works towards job creation, thereby creating more opportunities for youths to enter the workforce. This is how we will help to bridge the academic and professional worlds – by preparing students for employment or to uncover the entrepreneurial spirit in them and mould them into job creators.

Parents expectations

Parents play a big role in the decision-making process of a prospective student in selecting a college or university. Many factors come into play, including financing, for which in many cases the parents will be responsible. Surprisingly, finances are not the top concern of parents when working with their child to select a university.

A study conducted in the US showed that only 43% of parents with college-going dependents felt that universities provide ‘acquisition of real-world, marketable skills’. The importance of this is demonstrated in the fact that 72% of parents surveyed believed ‘acquisition of real-world, marketable skills’ to be highly important.

Another survey revealed that ‘acquisition of real world marketing skills’ was ranked at 73%, just after ‘safe environment’ (75%). This demonstrates how important it is that institutes of tertiary education prepare their students for the working world.

Survey data from Asian universities reveals that parents in this region have similar expectations. However, many universities are not, or cannot, deliver. This is where platforms such as ours come in.

Youth expectations

When youngsters first hit college, they’re going to be expecting a lot of different things. There are many adjustments they have to make, being for the first time on their own, and surely many would enjoy being free from parental supervision … but reality comes knocking sooner or later. Coursework, assignments, grades, securing internships, and so on. Not many studies have been done in Asia among students to gauge their expectations, but the few that do exist show that students firstly expect universities to properly prepare them for the job application process, and to provide the skills necessary to apply in the first place.

Following this, students expect that a university degree would guarantee employment. While not a realistic expectation, it does show the level of expectation students have from their institutes. Unfortunately, many universities mass produce graduates and they have trouble finding employment. Involving themselves in Junior Enterprises would provide that competitive advantage and make any resume look good.

Young entrepreneurs

Starting a business while at university will be one of the hardest things a student has ever done, but this is the best time for them to do so. While in university, they will have enough time to navigate this difficult path, and have at hand the resources necessary for their business. It is estimated that approximately 24% of students in Asia run a business while studying.
The opportunity to start a business is always there, but with Junior Enterprises the path to entrepreneurship is smoothened with our proven model. It does not guarantee success or tremendous income, but as with all university ventures, it is better to fail at this stage, when the safety net is still there, then in the real world.

Higher education as incubators

Universities are a hotbed of ideas and untapped talent. With the push towards greater entrepreneurship, universities find themselves having to play the role of an incubator – a space for students to develop ideas, connect with fellow entrepreneurs and to meet partners and financiers. In Asia, universities tend to be still more traditional. Through the Junior Enterprise concept and supporting programmes AYEN intends to introduce, we hope to turn universities into JE incubators – a space where these companies can grow and thrive.

Entrepreneurship programs

Junior Enterprise concept and statistics

According to the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises, “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.”

The important distinction between a JE and a traditional business is that the JE is a non-profit established primarily to teach students how to run a business. As a non-profit, the JE will not emphasize profit generation, and any revenue generation by the business is plowed back into the business, to provide training for the JE’s members, or on events,books and other materials that will enhance their learning experience.

The students working in the JE will manage the business as a real one, offering their services to real clients and charging a fee for these services, albeit at a lower rate than professional agencies. If the JE is involved in marketing a product, then the income will be derived from sales of the product and other marketing activities.

JEs are particularly popular in Europe and South America, and their importance to tertiary education is exemplified in the approximately 1,300 Junior Enterprises and 50,000 junior entrepreneurs currently operating in 40 countries. These JEs handle over 4,000 projects and generate over USD20 million turnover a year.

Creating Junior Enterprise in the universities

Any Junior Enterprises created by students through the assistance or efforts of AYEN will become part of the university. The Junior Enterprise will have to be registered under the university and will remain with the university once the students graduate. The reason for this is that the university will be the incubator where the Junior Enterprise can flourish in a nurturing and supportive environment. The students as well should not be graduates as the idea is to provide skills training and practical experience prior to their graduation and entry into the workforce. Universities are then the best place to host a Junior Enterprise. The universities stand to benefit as well, through student development, improved branding, international exposure and recognition, and development of community programmes through the Junior Enterprises.

Youth associations

AYEN will work closely with youth associations across our target countries. Click here to learn how.

Entrepreneurship spirit

Our aim is to develop the entrepreneurship spirit among youths. With our experience, we can help youth organisations and associations in Asia to develop sustainable enterprises. The endgame here is that these youth organisations become independent, helping their community and developing solutions to pertinent problems. To realise this, we will be working with governments across Asia and international organisations operating in this region.

Sustainable youth associations

Youth associations from any field tend to be funded from outside sources. At AYEN, we can help these youth associations develop a business or enterprise whereby they can stand on their own two feet, rather than be reliant on external funding and assistance. How and where depends on the nature of the association. A football club, for instance, with some managerial skills, can be turned into an educational centre that benefits the community.

Social entrepreneurs

Social entrepreneurs are defined as ‘a person who establishes an enterprise with the aim of solving social problems or effecting social change’. These social entrepreneurs apply their entrepreneurial zeal to solving social problems, driving social innovation and affecting change in various fields. A perfect example of a social entrepreneur is Muhammed Yunus from Bangladesh, founder of the Grameen Bank. He is a pioneer of microcredit and microfinance for the poor of Bangladesh to start their own businesses, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Social entrepreneurship is on the rise across the world. Their philanthropic business model helps to create employment, innovate new goods and services, improve social capital and equity promotion. AYEN is keen to work with youths interested in creating a social enterprise.

AYEN for youth associations

To support these youth associations, our web platform offers all the services necessary for them to flourish. We will also deploy mentors to assist them with their growth. Job opportunities for their organisations will be available on this website, as well.


Service provided by AYEN

On this website, we provide a host of services to enhance your JE experience. Click below to enter AYEN space or browse through the options below to view the services offered.

Pitching centre

Our pitching center allows registered members to send their presentations to our panel of experts for evaluation, feedback and suggestions. It is very important to have a good pitch and presentation and be well prepared. We can help with this.

Job for young entrepreneurs

A listing of available jobs and projects for registered members. These are jobs and projects intended for their Junior Enterprises and is not intended to provide employment.

Mentoring sessions

AYEN maintains a panel of qualified mentors who will provide their experience and knowledge to teams participating in our competitions and assist any registered members with their Junior Enterprise. The mentoring sessions are intended to provide guidance and disseminate industry experience to teams, to help them with their projects and presentations.

Help desk

Any registered member who needs assistance with any aspect of their Junior Enterprise can contact our help desk, which will typically respond within 1 day.

Joining the network

The global Junior Enterprise network spans the world and consists of Junior Enterprise confederations from several countries. Among these, the biggest two are the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE) and the Brazilian Confederation of Junior Enterprises (Brasil Junior). These two confederations alone have over 400 JEs and approximately 40,000 under them. Another two confederations which are growing very rapidly are the Junior Enterprises of Tunisia and the Canadian Confederation of Junior Enterprises. In Asia, only China has a confederation. Will your country be next?

Global network

The global Junior Enterprise network spans the world and consists of Junior Enterprise confederations from several countries. Among these, the biggest two are the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE) and the Brazilian Confederation of Junior Enterprises (Brasil Junior). These two confederations alone have over 400 JEs and approximately 40,000 under them. Another two confederations which are growing very rapidly are the Junior Enterprises of Tunisia and the Canadian Confederation of Junior Enterprises. In Asia, only China has a confederation. Will your country be next?

Youth in AYEN network

Youths in the AYEN network will get the opportunity to develop the skills that the job market is looking for, while still a student. These include hard and soft skills, and learning what recruiters expect from them. They will emerging from universities as young graduates with experience. Not only will they develop skills in their expertise field but will already be able to manage a company, have already established contacts with fellow entrepreneurs, companies and influencers. What a great way to bridge the gap between the academic and working worlds!

Junior Enterprise World Day

The Junior Enterprise World Day is an initiative to engage Junior Enterprises all around the world to work for a common cause: the recognition of the Junior Enterprise Concept. JEWD is on the 22nd of November each year, during Global Entrepreneurship Week. JEWD was created to celebrate the JE Networking around the world, a day in which students of the global Network commemorate their work, achievements, progress and the future plans. Universities, cities, countries, all impacted by the activities made in one day specially dedicated to the Junior Enterprises. By participating in a JE, you are eligible to attend the next JEWD!

Partners of global network

The world’s largest confederation for Junior Enterprises, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE), has cultivated an impressive roster of partners and works closely with them in several capacities.

Advantage for students

What are the advantages for students to join a Junior Enterprise? Take a look below and see what awaits those who embark on the Junior Enterprise journey.

Uplifting your personal skills

Junior Enterprises offer students the opportunity to develop real-world skills, such as soft skills and other necessary skills sought after by employers. This enables students to add practical experience to their theoretical skills. Such an endeavour subsequently will help to build up the student’s self-confidence. They will also get the chance to organize and participate in different activities and events, while making new contacts.

Competitiveness and productivity

Junior Enterprises are self-sustaining organisations responsible for their own development and financing. This level of commitment attracts talented students who are motivated and committed. Through their participation in a JE, these students will improve their competitiveness in the market place, as they will learn how to operate in a business environment. When it is time to enter the workforce, they do so already armed with practical and soft skills. Many graduates do not and employers have identified this as a problem and obstacle to hiring.

Your profile open to corporations

Corporations will be part of the AYEN network and will be perusing our student database to look for suitable candidates for employment or for outsourcing. This provides a serious advantage as these corporations know that AYEN members are JE graduates and therefore a higher level of functionality can be expected.