The German student company Meehr was awarded the BNP Paribas Social Entrepreneurship Award at the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019.
Meehr Schülerfirma is working to create a cleaner and healthier future through the sale of their reusable grocery bags made from upcycled fishing nets.
“Through its historic partnership with Junior Achievement, not only in France but also in the USA with our subsidiary Bank of the West or in Belgium with BNP Paribas Fortis, we have measured the importance for young people to be empowered.” said Marie-Claire Capobianco, Director of Growth Development and Corporate Coverage, and member of the Executive Committee at BNP Paribas. We were astonished to discover the ability of the Meehr reusable and long-lasting grocery bags to make our societies more environmental-friendly. This project represents perfectly the initiatives we aim to recognize with the BNP Paribas Social Entrepreneurship Award thanks to its positive impact on the environment and society. We were delighted to recognize the efforts of Meehr and wish them all the best for the future”.
After winning their respective country competitions, 40 teams from across Europe gathered in Lille this week to present their business ideas to a panel of business representatives. This marked the conclusion of a year-long process and was the final part of the JA Company Programme, an education programme for students aged 15-18 where they develop a product or a service, create their own company and manage their business from start to finish.
“Participating in the Company of the Year Competition was an amazing experience. I will always remember what we have learnt through this process, and especially what to me was most important: teamwork. While we are all very different, and we had struggles at the beginning, we all worked together towards the same goal and reached our objectives!” said Anna from Meehr.
Every year, more than 200 students from all over Europe gather for the finale of the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition and compete for prestigious prizes such as the “BNP Paribas Social Entrepreneurship” award. The BNP Paribas Foundation has been supporting EPA for more than five years.
“We are very thankful to BNP Paribas for their longstanding commitment to entrepreneurship education. As main partner of this year’s Company of the Year Competition and sponsor of the Social Entrepreneurship, BNP Paribas encourages innovative solutions to global problems, while maximizing social benefit. We need more Meehr in the world and the support of businesses like BNP Paribas to initiatives like JA’s Company Programme makes it possible”, said Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe.
BNP Paribas Signature Award jury members:
- Sylvain Taboni, Company Engagement programme officer at BNP Paribas
- Lea Pham, Youth Specialist at BNP Paribas Fortis
- Amélie Przyklenk, Youth and Daily Banking Specialist at BNP Paribas Fortis
BNP Paribas Social Entrepreneurship Award judging criteria:
- Clearly defined social goals and the need/potential for impact
- Real innovation with a clear social and environmental impact
- A service/product that has the potential to scale
- Capacity to build a sustainable organization and thereby realize their vision (leadership/talent/people)
About JA Europe
JA Europe (www.jaeurope.org) 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 BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 72 countries, with more than 202,000 employees, of which more than 154,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main activities: Domestic Markets and International Financial Services (whose retail-banking networks and financial services are covered by Retail Banking & Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking, which serves two client franchises: corporate clients and institutional investors. The Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realise their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the European leader in consumer lending. In the Nordic region BNP Paribas employs over 700 people across CIB, Asset Management, Personal Finance, Car Fleet Management, Leasing, Factoring and Insurance, with offices in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
About the BNP Paribas Foundation
Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been a major player in corporate philanthropy for 34 years. It is also encouraging and contributing to the BNP Paribas’ philanthropic policy growth in all parts of the world wherever the Bank operates. The BNP Paribas Foundation’s activities are aimed at multidisciplinary philanthropy, supporting innovative projects dedicated to the arts, social inclusion, education and the environment. It pays close attention to the quality of its commitment to its partners through a long-term commitment. Since 1984, over 300 cultural projects, 40 research programs and a thousand social and educational initiatives have earned its support in France and around the world.
At the heart of BNP Paribas company engagement department, there is a real ambition and key imperative to corporate social responsibility, ethics, diversity and inclusion, and promoting human rights in the countries where the bank does business, whilst respecting local legislation and cultures. Being the bank for a changing world means continuing to improve the way BNP Paribas helps its customers while contributing to more sustainable and equitable growth.
Press contact: Sophie Norman, Head of Policy and Communication