The first Company of the Year Competition was organized by the members of Young Enterprise Europe in 1989. It was not only an event for young people, but it was one of the key meeting points of the year for the staff and board members of the network. Over time, and with the merger of Young Enterprise Europe and JA International (Europe), the scope of the competition has grown.
The unique aspect of these events is that they are truly ‘European’: built on the concept of rotating the event from Member to Member. These are events are understood to be a meeting place for the network and a theater for its achievements. The event carries the JA Europe brand. It is considered a privilege to host the event on behalf of the network and unique opportunity to raise visibility at the national level.
This competition has been tried and tested more than 20 years. Each element of the contest serves a particular purpose for the judges in their assessment. Moreover, the tradition of rotating the events from country to country gives each a flavour of its own. It’s a fantastic showcase as well as a meeting place for business leaders, policy makers and educators. Very few organizations offer such a diverse spectrum of stakeholders and bring them together so often. The hosts of the last 13 competitions:
- 2017: Brussels, Belgium; Winner 'Festera' from Estonia
- 2016: Lucerne, Switzerland; Winner 'SubReader' from Denmark
- 2015: Berlin, Germany; Winner -'Rauteck' from Germany
- 2014: Tallinn, Estonia; Winner 'E-14 Magma' from Iceland
- 2013: London, UK; Winner '3 little Pigs' from Estonia
- 2012: Bucharest, Romania; Winner ‘Sign4Life‘ from Ireland
- 2011: Oslo, Norway; Winner - ‘Summit Enterprise‘ from the UK
- 2010: Cagliari, Italy; Winner - ‘Pnööö’ from Switzerland
- 2009: Rotterdam, Netherlands; Winner - ‘Touch of Green’, Estonia
- 2008: Stockholm, Sweden; Winner - ‘Image BB’ Germany
- 2007: Berlin , Germany ; Winner - ‘Deutsch Spaß’ from Ireland
- 2006: Interlaken , Switzerland - ‘Know It’ from Germany
- 2005: Oslo, Norway; Winner - ‘UCMe’ from Sweden
- 2004: Valetta, Malta; Winner - ‘Primecut’ from Switzerland
Host members can show others what they have achieved; they can bring important recognition to their supporters as well as create interesting new fundraising opportunities; finally they take their turn to “give back” and welcome the rest of the European family to their “country” as their peers did before them. Thus the events were never seen as just a member affair, though of course they always brought with them a local flavour; instead they were seen as special moments during the year when individual members could demonstrate that they are part of a larger network.