An Israeli student-company from the Kadima-Zoran middle school has placed third among 37 teams competing in this year’s Junior Achievement Europe Company of the Year competition. The contest, held in Berlin, celebrates the top mini-companies from 36 countries across Europe and gives them an opportunity to set up and run a real business with the support of business mentors.

The Israeli team of 15-year-olds – the youngest at the competition — designed a product called Sit Up – a safety harness for carrying children aged seven and under on one’s shoulders. The Israeli device “makes it possible to carry young children on the shoulders safely, leaving the adult’s hands free,” the group, calling itself Graffiti, explains in its product description.

Sit Up safety harness
Sit Up safety harness

A YNet report says the young company has sold dozens of their products in Israel so far, and notes that the harnesses are part of the Social Tech movement and are produced by the Netiv company in Hadera, which employ people with special needs.

Germany’s RAUTECK student-company that develops new sustainable products with recycled automotive parts won the event.

All participating teams had to win a local competition before taking part in the three-day finals. The student teams all created and marketed real products and services.

“The JA company program takes students out of the classroom into the real economic world. Providing an entrepreneurial experience to the students it delivers the best learning effect and prepares for a future career. For what distinguishes entrepreneurs from people who have an idea? Entrepreneurs go out there and do it,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Hüther, Chair Judge COYC 2015, Director of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research and Chair of JA Germany.

“We are proud to see secondary students across Europe taking part in our flagship Company Program. Through this initiative students are able to gain key insights into the world of entrepreneurship. This is one of the best experiences a young person can have in order to be successful in today’s global economy,” said Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe.