National Competition of the Year 2021 in JA Côte d'Ivoire

November 2021 Ivory Coast

A new batch of young Ivorian entrepreneurs has been hatched Friday the 12th of November 2021 when the 2nd edition of the National Competition of the Year in Ivory Coast took place at the amphitheater of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (CERAO) located in Cocody-Aghien. The competition is arranged by the NGO Junior Achievement (JA) and organised in high schools and colleges across the country. JA aims to train and supervise young people in innovation and entrepreneurship, and they opened their offices in Côte d'Ivoire in 2019.


The theme of the competition this year was “Innovate with courage and resilience” and began at the start of the school year in September 2020. The training was held over nine months with 26 high schools and colleges across the country. 


Seven teams were selected for the final after having developed their innovative projects which all culminated when they had to present their ideas and compete against each other in front of a professional jury to get onto the podium for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places and thereby receive The Tomorrow Foundation Future Tech Award. The award will be given to companies that efficiently illustrates innovative or groundbreaking ideas that leverage technology in solving a problem. The panel they have to convince with their ideas comprise a representative from Tomorrow Foundation as well as successful entrepreneurs and local professionals.


The Company of the Year Award (1st place) is given to the best overall company that demonstrates leadership, innovation, problem-solving, teamwork and business acumen. The winning teams will represent their respective countries at the Regional Company of the Year Competition. 


A successful company would have the potential to significantly disrupt existing markets and bring in a higher customer satisfaction using technology. 


This year in Ivory Coast, the team that impressed the jury the most with their innovative ideas and won the mini-enterprise program was the team from Lycée TSF de Bouaké. The team from this school presented an ecological and environmental project which will allow plastic waste to be transformed into land delimitation markers. See here the video presentation of their project. 


Parts of the objective of the JA program is to expose young people to current issues in their communities and think out of the box, trying to find solutions to solve complex problems and thereby move forward, and that is definitely something that the winning team has potential to by addressing the issue of plastic waste. 


The company program has facilitated training during the last few months to equip the learners with an entrepreneurial mindset and strip them of the fear of taking risks. This training also allows them to awaken the potential that lies dormant in them and ultimately propose projects that are concrete, effective and have sustainable solutions. This is what the team from Lycée Technique d’Abidjan Cocody say about their gains from participating: 


“Junior Achievement Côte d'Ivoire's Mini-Enterprise programme has taught us to work as a team, to face together the difficult moments of creating a mini-enterprise. Also as individuals, we have developed qualities such as listening to our peers, valuing the suggestions of our colleagues, having the vision of a leader and above all respect for the other members of the mini-company. We got a vision of life in a company and better understood the facets of entrepreneurship. In the end, our objectives are to work towards the expansion of our company, to have a headquarters and above all to ensure that it is known throughout the world.” 


The COY initiative is supported by the representative of the Direction de la Vie Scolaire (DVS) of the Ministry of National Education and Literacy, Ms Emilie Kouadio, and in 2015 they introduced Entrepreneurship in schools. “The JA Côte d'Ivoire program gives young people the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills; this is the most important. In the long run, this will make it possible to curb the problem of the employability of young graduates or those who have left school, and thus to integrate into working life with their own project. The DVS is the privileged institutional partner of this kind of initiative”, said Ms Emilie Kouadio.


Despite the fact that not all 7 teams won the title, advice from the Press Secretary of the Embassy of the United States in Côte d'Ivoire, Taylor Tinney, goes like this: “You young people must be able to be actors and leaders in entrepreneurship. The most important thing is that you take the first step and start with selflessness without fear of failure. There is no loser in this competition because you have learned skills. This will strengthen you and allow you to reorient yourself.” 


The winning team from Lycée TSF de Bouaké will represent Côte d'Ivoire at the African international competition which will take place in February 2022 in Mauritius, and we wish them all the best of luck! 


The other high schools competing in the 2021 national final were: 

  • the Anador College of Abobo (2nd), 
  • the Technical High School of Abidjan-Cocody (3rd), 
  • the Municipal High School of Koumassi 1 (4th), 
  • the Lycée de Duékoué (5th), 
  • the modern Lycée de Cocody (6th) and 
  • the Municipal Lycée de Koumassi 2 (7th).


Congratulations to all of you! You are an inspiration for future generations, and the hope of a Better Tomorrow. 

Photo gallery (click to enlarge)