Impresa in Azione
Thanks to Impresa in azione students around Italy and Europe learn how to take a business idea from concept to reality. They form their own “student company” and discover first hand how a company functions by the support of a teacher and a volunteer advisers from the business community.
Purpose and process
- Students involved in Impresa in azione program have had hands-on experiences that develop enterprising skills, attitude and behaviour in preparation for working life
- Discover how a company functions
- Improve their own self-confidence and knowledge of the community where they live
- Develop individual and collective creativity
Students gain creativity thinking and problem solving, communication and presentation skills, confidence and a can-do attitude, teamwork and leadership, negotiation and decision-making, setting goal and time management and managing risk.
Impresa in azione includes benefits for teachers: high quality materials and training, comprehensive support and assistance, international professional development, access to expert from the business community and different innovative teaching tools, opportunity to network and exchange ideas with colleagues from other countries.
To create a student company is a process of individual and team working. Students elect a board of directors from amongst their peers, raise share capital and market and finance, produce and market their own product or service; finally, they prepare an annual report and a balance sheet for shareholders.
They develop new skills such as teamwork, leadership, presenting, planning and financial control as they learn to take responsibility for the success of their company.
Students involved in the Impresa in azione program have the opportunity to take part in trade fairs, market their own product or service, trade with the public and compete with other schools in Europe and at a global level (informally education).
Curricular or thematic relevance
The program is recognised by the European Commission Enterprise Directorate General as a best practice in Entrepreneurship Education. In Italy the program is promoted into the schools in collaboration with the Ministry of Education throughout a memorandum as an implementation of the Alternanza scuola lavoro (internship). It is in line with the National Guidelines for Secondary school reform (2010) and with the National Guidelines of the lifelong learning orientation (Dec 2013). The national company of the year competition called Biz Factory (that take place every June) is one of the best practice of the National Excellence Albo. Every scholastic year the finalist and winner students (five) are registered in this Albo. The teacher training sessions are accredited as vocational retraining by the Ministry of Education.
How to organise:
The project is running in school time for 40-60 hours between November and May (a one-week meeting of 2 hours at the discretion of the teacher). Student engaged came from a whole class (III, IV or V scholastic year) for a minimum of 15 and a maximum or 24. Extra activities are involved: trade fair, competition, meeting with the advisor of the business community or institutions. Each student company is followed by a teacher coordinator (or a pool of teachers) and a business advisor that as volunteer guides and mentors them (from 10 to 20 hours). Adults engaged in the project participate to a one-day training session and informative session. Other business volunteers participate as judges and support schools in the final evaluation and selection process of the best student companies of every year. Schools and business are provided with an educational and collaborative digital platform 2.0 www.impresainazione.it where they can subscribe to the program, share experiences and participate to topic on-line European and National Competition (e.g. social business, sustainability and environment, digital, mechatronic, tourism and handicraft, etc.). On the web platform students, teachers and business volunteers can consult and download didactic materials (“Business kit”) that permit to run their business as a real start-up. Annex to the guide is possible find models, links and articles to improve the understanding of each step.
Assessment and evaluation approaches
Students are expected to present and discuss their ideas with their entrepreneurial advisors: they also have to make a profit through successful participation in trade fairs. Every scholastic year the finalist and winner students (five) are registered in the National Excellence Albo (http://www.indire.it/eccellenze/ ).
Local entrepreneurs support the programme throughout its duration with a minimum contribution of 10 hours of their time.
The Impresa in azione programme, known as 'Company Programme', takes place in more than 20 European countries as well as in Africa, the Americas, Australia and the Far East. Every year, a European trade fair and competiton is hosted by one of the country partners in the network and every five years the JA Worldwide organization manages a Global Competition.
helper do TM detail body (June 6th, 1st half)
Santo D Angelo
This is an excellent method to let the students work in groups, driving them from an idea to get them to do business. Some students continue to experience even after finishing studies.
This is the Student's Company Programme that i ve been running for 6 years in my school (A Arsakeio Lykeio in Athens). Great experience for my students and myself. The goal is that students will be able to continue their virtual company after finishing their studies in high school.
Angeliki Zissi 02.03.2014
Hello, I am Daniela Russo, I teach electronics at a vocational school in Bagheria in the province of Palermo. I am here because last year I participated in the " Impresa in Azione " with my IV (fourth ) class that consists of about 20 students between 17 and 19 years old.
First of all it seems important to describe the socio-economic context in which I work.
The area is characterized by severe social and economic imbalances that are heavily reflected on the conditions of life and work of the youth population. The elements of disaggregation are widespread. There is a perceived lack of facilities to welcome and offer well-being and harmonious growth conditions to young people. The chaotic and degraded urban along the coast and near the city of Palermo, often turns into a place of danger and hardship. Organized crime has affected the social and economic life making it risky to undertake entrepreneurial activities.
The most significant indicators of this negative condition can be summarized as follows: low level of active citizenship, tax evasion and low level of participation of the population in the political and social life, endemic crisis of the local economy and labor market, the presence of situations of poverty, limited opportunities for vocational integration and the enlargement of the pockets of working covered with severe impairment of the working and professional future of the new generations (growing difficulties of integration into the labor market).
In particular, the students in my school come from families whose cultural and economic level is medium / low. Many of them come from single-income families with low levels of schooling and are exploited by the black labor market.
In this scenery, the participation in the program " Impresa in Azione " was a revelation. The students initially have approached the program with a lot of mistrust, but their participation in the competitions, which involved having to deal with the other schools, has awakened their interest.
The product proposed was technological. It was a system for cleaning the photovoltaic panels that automatically detects the presence of dust activating a power brush and a pump. The system is also capable of cooling the panels when temperatures rise above a certain programmable threshold.
The students have also approached matters relating to the drafting of the company's business plan and organization. With the help of some volunteers we have also dealt with the bureaucratic and legal aspects and we talked about business and law.
Strengths of the program
I believe that the effectiveness of the program is linked to its practical aspect that puts the kids in a real situation. Although the competitions are an important lever for young people who should be encouraged and get excited about life.
Stimulating their competitive spirit is the best way to make sure that they learn.
I really liked the collegial spirit, the challenge of the group, a wonderful experience to transfer the concept of working together. An unforgettable memory, not only for the win, but also for the emergence of a group.
The program runs the risk to remain only an educational experience for the students that will not be applied for their future life.
My students have really got the intention to start a business but they have encountered a number of practical problems that, dued to their young age, have discouraged them.
My proposal is to establish a commission to evaluate the real intention of the group to implement the business idea and to accompany them towards the realization.
There could be, for instance, a stable branch at the pilot schools to:
1. supporting young people in the focus of the entrepreneurial process and protecting the business idea (how to register your trademark, how to register the patent, etc..).
2. Indicating the means and methods for raising capital or accessing to notices / competitions.
3. Illustrating the benefits of legality and the role of the anti – mafia professional men in business management .
4. Arranging one to one meetings with entrepreneurs and incubators at.
Thanks for your attention
Introducing myself in several meetings, I paraphrased Martin Luther King with an irreverent but important for me “I had a dream”.
I’d wished that my students could have the opportunity to run a company with other European students. A Company with same aims but able to leave them free to choose, catch and share the opportunities that only a global market could offer.
So the adventure with teams from Norway, Sweden and Spain started. Happy Ear is the name of the company. They are running the Company, sharing marketing, import/export, strategies, problems & solutions, finance.
They are creating a common business model right now.
I think that your students have an explosive potential. If they have perspectives I’m sure that every project will be a success. Because they want to grow, they want to learn and you have to create the right environment to help them to run a company. I saw my students starting with scepticism, but when they understood that they could know new friends, new cultures and new countries they were enthusiastic.
“Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse.
But treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be,
and you make him what he should be”. W. Goethe