Brussels, 10 Aug 2005
Young innovators in Sweden have been rewarded for their 'pedestrian mood reflectors' through the Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise (JA-YE) European company of the year competition.
Students from 24 countries competed in the JA-YE Norway contest. First prize, presented in Oslo, went to Swedish company UCMe (you see me), set up by six girls from a secondary school in Huddinge. CEO Carin Lundren described their concept in the following way: 'Our reflectors show what kind of mood you are in at any specific moment. Maybe you want to show the world that you are angry, happy, crazy or in love. Whatever you choose, you are always better protected as you become more visible in traffic.'
Some 3500 reflectors have been sold in Stockholm alone over the past year. The partners are now planning to take their idea further, and to launch it on the European market.
'Education and training for entrepreneurship has been identified as an important factor in fostering entrepreneurship,' said Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Borge Brende, at the prize ceremony. 'Encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit is one of the keys to creating jobs, improving competitiveness and stimulating growth,' added Erna Solberg, Norway's Minister for Local Government and Regional Development.
The competing teams all comprised secondary school students who have created their own company. All of the companies make a profit, and several have launched entirely new products that could have considerable international potential.
Second prize went to UK company Avian Enterprise based in Hull. The students have created bird feeders decorated with two-dimensional pine figures. Third prize went to Swiss company Platestar, from Wohlen, for its 'platenizers' - small folders made from used US car licence plates that contain personal organisers, CD holders, business card files and notebooks.
A special award was given to Dutch company SEC-Gripp for 'most innovative product'. The students developed a new type of multifunctional equestrian tool to turn studs into horseshoes safely and easily. Latvian company Hemante was recognised for best sales. The company produced sweets in the shape of bouquets of flowers. Italian company SNAP was awarded for the potential of its product - a vibrating alarm clock - for the international market. The clock is primarily aimed at the hard of hearing. The Best Design award went to Danish company Watch Me for its astronomical clocks that tell the time in five different time zones and can be personalised as corporate gifts with text and company logos.
For further information on JA-YE Europe, please visit: