• Entrepreneurship

Check Out the Winners of the National and European Mini-Company Competition

On the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of July 2019, the best young entrepreneurs from France and Europe met up in Lille for a ‘company of the year’ competition. The event brought together the national EPA France challenge and the European JA Europe Company of the Year Competition that celebrated its 30th anniversary this year! For this occasion, BNP Paribas, the main partner for the event, awarded three prizes for the two championships. Let's look back at these three days dedicated to entrepreneurship.

Three days to celebrate the best young entrepreneurs of Europe 

This year, Lille hosted a large event dedicated to young entrepreneurs from across Europe. The Company of the Year Competition (COYC) organised by JA Europe and its French partner Entreprendre Pour Apprendre (EPA) brought together over 200 young entrepreneurs who came to compete for the JA Europe mini-company prize for 2019. In total, 40 mini-companies from 30 European countries rose to the challenge! 

This event was the final part of the Entreprise JA programme, an educational programme for students 15 to 18 years old. Over the course of the school year, the students build a project or develop a service, create their own company, and manage their company from start to finish.

The winners, selected by a high-level jury of ten judges, were recognised for their innovative, sustainable approaches and the attention paid to their customers.

This event occurred alongside the EPA France national championship and the European Entrepreneurship Education Summit.

Discover all the winners of the JA Europe Championship

Key figures from the 2019 annual event

+2 000

young people together in Lille for 3 days


young entrepreneurs qualified at the national level


European teams participated in the competition


people on the jury for the competition

BNP Paribas Social Entrepreneurship Prize

In the framework of the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition, BNP Paribas created the ‘Social Entrepreneurship Prize’. This prize was awarded to the German mini-company team Meehr which is working to create a cleaner, healthier future by selling reusable grocery bags made from recycled fishing nets.

Through our 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. 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”.

Marie-Claire Capobianco, Director of Growth Development and Corporate Coverage, and member of the Executive Committee at BNP Paribas

A national competition to encourage entrepreneurship in young people and to help mould them into the leaders of the future

Entreprendre Pour Apprendre (EPA) aims to unlock the potential of young people through concrete, collective experiences with entrepreneurship. How? By encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit and helping them see their true potential. Across France, the network assists students 9 to 25 years old with their teachers or career advisors and professionals from the business world.  BNP Paribas (through the retail bank in France, its foundation (a partner for the last five years), and BNP Paribas Cardif supports EPA through skills-based sponsorship of 70 employees who act as volunteers.

The EPA France national competition recognised six French teams (out of a pool of 100). The teams were assessed by juries composed of representatives from the business world. Teams were also divided into five categories: secondary school, college, post-secondary school, job initiatives, and apprenticeships.

On this occasion, BNP Paribas gave out two awards to encourage entrepreneurship and increased access to business for young people.
  • The job initiative award was given to the Ardenn’ Beeo mini-company that offers a biodegradable paper cup that turns into flower seeds. The award was given by Marie-Claire Capobianco, a member of the BNP Paribas executive board and the director of Growth & Companies.
  • The customer relations award created by BNP Paribas Cardif was given by Laurence Hontarrede, the Chief Prospective and CSR Officer at BNP Paribas Cardif, to the mini-company PetPlant which sells a complete kit for caring for carnivorous plants and whose proceeds are given to ReforestAction.
Discover all the winners of the EPA France Championship

Crédit photo header ©COYC19

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