Jaye Malta is inspiring the next generation of young entrepreneurs

Last Updated on Monday, 20 December, 2021 at 10:23 am by Andre Camilleri

Fiona Captur, CEO of Jaye Malta, will be completing her three-year tenure at the Foundation in February 2022.

Malta’s Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (Jaye) Foundation is capturing the imagination of young people across the islands. For over 30 years, Jaye Malta has provided high-quality educational programmes to young people aged eight to 30 living in Malta and Gozo. Our aim is simple: to broaden the horizons of the next generation by offering education and hands-on experience in the areas of business, economics, employability and entrepreneurship.

It has been an honour to be part of Jaye Malta’s journey. In many ways, it has been a full-circle experience for me, having worked with the Foundation at its inception before returning in 2019 as CEO. Adapting to the rapidly moving business world has been crucial to our success and it is clear that the skills needed to become a modern entrepreneur are not found online or in books – they are learnt through doing.

Jaye Malta champions experiential learning; moving away from theory to focus on developing a proactive attitude grounded by ethical values, integrity, empathy, resilience and a self-directed passion for lifelong learning. Our goal is to set young people up for life and provide them with a reliable compass to navigate the future.

I am especially proud that Jaye Malta has been a springboard for female entrepreneurs. Withprominent business figures namely Helga Ellul and Susan Weenink Camilleri sitting on our Board, we are leading by example. In fact, five of our 11 Board members are women who have been involved with Jaye Malta in several capacities over the years, from alumni themselves to appearing on judging panels and mentoring students, to sponsoring our projects. With each member bringing a wealth of expertise and invaluable business connections, I believe our message is loud and clear: gender should never be a barrier to success.

Jaye Malta’s programmes offer a safe space where students can learn, ask questions and get involved into something completely new. Supervision is always at hand, but our emphasis is on freedom and embracing creativity. This approach is conducive to an equal opportunities environment, and you only need to take a look at our success stories to see how we have supported many young women to “step out” and share their views and ideas with confidence.

Among our trail-blazing alumnae are Marisa Xuereb, president of The Malta Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Jo Caruana, founder and CEO of public relations and communications company Finesse Group and Leonie Baldacchino, director of the Edward De Bono Institute, to name only a few.

As outgoing CEO, I have a unique view of Jaye Malta and the immense progress it has made since it was established in 1988. Our efforts to automate and digitise our processes have gone a long way to modernising our operation. With the support of Salesforce and Deloitte Digital, we now have a state-of-the-art system that has transformed our work in the community. With online processes for all areas of our work, from GDPR and participating school records, to impact measurement and reporting, we have a huge capacity for growth.

The Foundation has bold aims for the future in order to continue growing in effectiveness and scope. While the EU recognises that innovation brings employment and economic growth and has invested in entrepreneurship for a long time, this has not yet been translated into direct action on a local level. Taking the lead from last week’s proposals on individual learning and micro-credentials, the EU’s Skills Agenda, Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan and the Entrecomp: Entrepreneurship Competence Framework, we believe Malta would benefit hugely from an Entrepreneurship Education National Policy (EENP). As one of the few remaining EU countries without an EENP, this is a big topic on Jaye Malta’s agenda.

Our mission, vision and purpose is even more prescient in our new, post-Covid-19 reality, and there are many cohorts we aim to reach. It is a key goal of ours to extend education in life skills and employability to second chance education institutes, individuals who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs), migrants, immigrant communities and single mothers… the list goes on.

There is still much more for us to achieve but I am extremely proud of the work Jaye Malta has done to date. We have nurtured talented, enthusiastic young people into resourceful adults and I am confident the Foundation is well-positioned to continue propelling tomorrow’s leaders to success.

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