European youth elevate their communities through entrepreneurship

Business Forum
Twelve students from a secondary technical school in Bratislava, Slovakia, have been honored with the UniCredit Foundation Re-Power Your Future Award for their impactful business project. Their junior company, Devecol, has successfully developed a smart and interactive application that mobilizes communities to collect waste from nature. This innovative solution fosters collaboration among young people, civil society, and institutions, showcasing the students' exceptional ability to engage multi-stakeholders around a shared mission.

UniCredit Foundation Re-Power Your Future Award recognises the best JA business that either developed solutions aspiring to support social mobility of the next generation of youth or to elevate the communities they target through social engagement.

The Award is part of a three-year "Re-power your future" initiative by JA Europe and UniCredit Foundation, where participating youth are involved in a real entrepreneurial experience and gain the necessary skills, competences and knowledge to be successfully employed in the future and to give a pass for further opportunities. The initiative involves a strong commitment to the community with UniCredit bank representatives: skills-based volunteering, mentoring, role modeling, support for organizing local events, and connections with other similar initiatives.

Silvia Cappellini, UniCredit Foundation General Manager said: “We are happy and honored to participate in the Gen-E festival as european partner. In July 2023, the UniCredit Foundation joined forces with Junior Achievement Europe to launch "Re-power Your Future," a concrete initiative aimed at combating early school leaving, involving 10 countries within the UniCredit perimeter in a three-year program. These days we celebrate the results of European students and their innovative entrepreneurial ideas. UniCredit Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the Re-power Your Future Award, for their ability to engage the entire community around a cause for the common good. Seeing these projects become reality represents for us a great injection of confidence in the future.” 

Salvatore Nigro, CEO JA Europe added: “There is a clear connection between providing more entrepreneurial learning experiences and combating school drop-out. JA programmes have the ability to stimulate self-esteem of young people, instill the desire to actively take control of their lives, learning how to develop the skills to do so in practice. How? By inspiring all youth with the entrepreneurial example of others, and by teaching them a broad range of relevant soft and hard skills to succeed in the global economy.”

The first year of Re-Power Your Future initiative saw a number of inspirational activities helping to reduce school drop-out by measurable results to increase motivation, engagement and opportunities at schools where the risk of drop-out is highest. In our experience, re-engaging students is key and the collaboration between UniCredit Foundation and JA Europe has been instrumental in improving outcomes, preventing drop-outs from school, and inspiring youth to pursue careers they are passionate about. 

This Third Sector Body (TSB) is the corporate foundation of UniCredit Group whose purpose is to unlock the potential of Europe's next generation. Its mission is to empower young people across Europe by creating equal opportunities in education and to support them in making their way in life and the professional world. The Foundation's initiatives aim at combating school drop-out, enhancing employability, encouraging university attainment and promoting study and research. The Foundation is committed to supporting communities in all countries where UniCredit Group operates.