Rewarding entrepreneurial mind-sets thanks to the JA Alumni Leadership Awards 2018 supported by AXA

Belgrade, Serbia, 20 July 2018

10 standout individuals won the ‘JA Alumni Leadership Award’ supported by AXA at JA Europe 29th Company of the Year Competition.
JA Europe’s ‘Company of the Year Competition’ celebrates the best 200+ young entrepreneurs across 40 countries in Europe.

2018 Winners
  • Dimitrios Konstantinou - Cyprus
  • Kristina Horsager - Denmark
  • Helin Kuldkepp - Estonia
  • Katharina Hartung - Germany
  • Aya Haimovich - Israel
  • Damir Babacic - Luxembourg
  • Nemanja Matic - Serbia
  • Carolina Schlegel - Spain
  • Ben Ray - UK
  • Luke Andrews - UK

10 outstanding personalities were selected by the JA Alumni Europe & AXA jury, recognising their extraordinary entrepreneurial attitude. Students that have participated in entrepreneurship education programmes such as the JA Company Programme have higher ambitions for their future career choices (job or further education) than those that have not. They are more self-motivated in their efforts in the learning process, more likely to start their own business and more attractive to the job market. This is crucial to spur a more entrepreneurial mind-set in Europe.

Over 200 students gathered in Belgrade on 16-19 July to showcase the top JA mini-companies from across Europe. 39 student-teams competed as part of JA Europe’s flagship JA Company Programme, which gives them an opportunity to set up and run a real business. 

The JA Company Programme students learn how to create and market real products and services, with a hands-on approach, learning how to run a business from top to bottom. The success of the programme is largely due to the wide support from business volunteers, who act as mentors, offering expert advice to the students. Partnerships between education and business are essential to closing the gap between classroom theory and real-world challenges. In the 2017-2018 school year, more than 340,000 students across 40 countries in Europe participated in the JA Company Programme.

By involving AXA business volunteers in JA programmes, the partnership provides students with the tools necessary to better understand the world around them, understand financial risks, build an entrepreneurial mind-set and make well informed financial decisions later on. 

Cesar Salazar, Global HR Project Manager, AXA Europe added: “AXA is proud to support the Alumni Leadership Award for the third year. Entrepreneurial skills are a vital asset for the next generation of leaders, and Junior Achievement ensures that students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. This years winners embodied the AXA values and were an inspiration to us all. We encourage them to continue to be courageous in their ambition, foster creativity and teamwork in those around them, and continue to conduct themselves with a high level of integrity.”

Sarah Rapp, President, JA Alumni Europe added: “JA Alumni Europe is proud to award the most outstanding leaders of the JA Company of the Year Competition. This award is really special to us because it is given by JA Alumni for JA Alumni. Our mission is to provide former JA program participants with further experience and opportunities, encourage them to strengthen their passion for entrepreneurship and build international networks of like-minded people.”

Caroline Jenner, CEO for JA Europe, added: “This competition is a team effort, but together with AXA we want to celebrate all the individuality and leadership that makes it all happen. Young people sometimes underestimate that having an entrepreneurial attitude can represent one of their best assets, not only when entering the workforce but in everyday life, too. AXA is fully committed to equipping young people with the practical training and skills they need to be prepared for today's economic challenges.”

JA Alumni Leadership Awards supported by AXA

About JA Europe

JA Europe ( ) is Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, reaching 3.6 million students in 41 countries in 2017. JA works with the education and business communities as well as governments to provide young people from primary school to university with experiences that build the skills and competences they will need to succeed in a global economy. JA Europe is the European Regional Operating Centre for JA Worldwide®. 

About the AXA Group

The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 166,000 employees serving 103 million clients in 64 countries. In 2015, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 99.0 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.6 billion. AXA had Euro 1,363 billion assets under management as of December 31, 2015.

The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.

This press release and the regulated information made public by AXA pursuant to article L. 451-1-2 of the French Monetary and Financial Code and articles 222-1 et seq. of the Autorité des marchés financiers’ General Regulation are available on the AXA Group website ( ).

About JA Europe Alumni

JA Alumni Europe is the official alumni organisation of JA Europe. The mission of this organisation is to provide former participants of JA programs with further opportunities and experience, encourage them to strengthen their passion for entrepreneurship and build international networks of like-minded people. It was established in 2004 and currently gathers 10.000+ members from 20+ countries across Europe.


For more information, please contact:

Philippe Giot

Communications & Digital Media Manager, JA Europe
+32 2 893 44 39  

Julien Parot

Director of Press Relations and Group Reputation AXA
+33 1 40 75 59 80

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