SureLight from UK recognised as the best client-led team with the Citi Foundation Client Focus Award 2018

20 July 2018

SureLight a students’ startup from UK won the ‘Citi Foundation Client Focus Award’, supported by the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, at JA Europe 29th Company of the Year Competition.

JA Europe’s ‘Company of the Year Competition’ is the biggest European recognition of students taking part in the JA Company Programme and this year celebrates the best 200+ young entrepreneurs across 37 countries in Europe.

The ‘Citi Foundation Client Focus Award’ recognises student enterprises that are client-led, and excel at creating value by listening to their clients to understand, anticipate and serve their evolving needs and circumstance.

SureLight’s strong focus on customer experience impressed the Citi Foundation Signature Award jury. SureLight is producing a smart brake light for bicycles. The student team, as a group of cyclers, wanted to improve security by using car's brake light technology and making it available for bicycles. Not only SureLight won the Citi Foundation Client Focus Award, but they were crowned as best European Company of the Year 2018.

"It was a wonderful experience. Being client focus is something that is very important for us. Having been through 32 prototypes enabled us to be where we are today, and we really couldn’t make all these changes without speaking to our customers. Our sales are in close contact with them, whether you sell the product or not, you can always get tips and feedback," shared Ben Ray, Managing Director of SureLight. 

Over 200 students gathered in Belgrade between 16-19 July to celebrate the top mini-companies from across Europe. 39 student-teams from 37 countries came together to compete as part of JA Europe’s flagship JA Company Programme, which provides them with the opportunity to set up and run a real business. 

The JA Company Programme allow students to learn how to run a company creating and marketing real products and services. The main success factor of this programme is the active involvement and wide support from business volunteers, who act as mentors, bringing expert advice to the students. Business-education partnerships are essential to connect classroom theory and real-world challenges in order to close the increasing skills gap in Europe. In the 2016-17 school year, more than 350,000 students across 40 countries in Europe took part in the JA Company Programme.

Partnering for over three decades, the Citi Foundation and JA Europe collaborated in 19 European countries, involving over 51,000 students and 300 Citi business volunteers in 2017-2018, to develop young people’s entrepreneurial skills and work readiness. The partnership has been growing from year to year and greatly contributed to tackle youth unemployment and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial employees. Citi is committed to supporting young people to become career ready, and in February 2017 expanded their Pathways to Progress initiative globally to help 500,000 young people with $100 million over the next three years. 

“The JA Europe Company Programme is highly effective at starting young people on their entrepreneurial journeys, and for providing the important skills needed to have successful futures. This is all critical if we are to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 8 – decent work and economic growth, and whilst not everyone that reaches the European final will become an entrepreneur, they leave the programme with a much broader career potential.
Congratulations to SureLight who strongly demonstrated what it means to put your client at the centre of your business. - ”Rachael Barber, Head of Community Development EMEA, Citi

Caroline Jenner, CEO for JA Europe, added: “For more than 30 years, our partnership with Citi and Citi Foundation has supported young people to understand what it takes to start and run their own business. Thanks to their global commitment to developing youth entrepreneurship through the JA Company Programme and the Entrepreneurial Skills PassTM we were able to empower 48,000 young people (15-18 years old) last school year!”



About JA Europe

JA Europe is Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, reaching 3.5 million students in 40 countries in 2016. 
JA Europe brings the public and private sectors together to provide young people in primary and secondary schools and early university with high-quality education programmes to teach them about enterprise, entrepreneurship, business and economics in a practical way. 
JA Europe is the European Regional Operating Centre for JA Worldwide®. 

About Citi 

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. 

About Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. They invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfil their mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.

For more information, please contact:

JA Europe Communications 

Rachel Barber 
Citi Foundation 

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