Press Releases

Business mentoring programmes significantly improve employability and business skills of high school students, Warwick University study says

Brussels, Belgium, 25 February 2014

3rd edition of Global Social Innovation Relay encourages high school students to become social entrepreneurs.


78% of high school students are more confident to start up a social enterprise and more than 80% have improved their problem-solving skills and creative thinking after being coached by business experts as part of the Social Innovation Relay global initiative.  These are the key findings of the programme evaluation report released today by Warwick University and Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise. The University has evaluated the Social Innovation Relay (SIR) 2013 by surveying more than 43,000 participants from 19 countries. The results demonstrate the importance of e-mentoring in improving the employability and entrepreneurial potential of young people.

Social Innovation Relay is a global competition which challenges high school students to develop an innovative business concept addressing a social need in their community. The competition is conducted by Junior Achievement- Young Enterprise (JA-YE), a worldwide provider of entrepreneurship education programmes, and Hewlett Packard (HP).

The University of Warwick evaluated and demonstrated the significant impact of the Social Innovation Relay.  Overall:

  • 86% are more aware of what social issues exist in their own community
  • 78% are more confident they could start up a social enterprise
  • 85% improved their problem-solving and creative-thinking skills
  • 81% better understand the importance of ICT in pursuing social and business initiatives

The value of e-mentoring

One of the unique attributes of the SIR is its reliance on virtual mentoring by company employees with students in their own, or a different, country.  The evaluation confirms e-mentoring leads to equally strong learning outcomes as in-person mentoring.  In addition to logistical and resource benefits, e-mentoring was found to improve interactions with mentees. 

  • 68% highlighted the cost savings
  • 71% indicated e-mentoring increased the frequency of their interactions with students
  • 62% enabled connections with students in rural or other locations
  • 58% reported that relationships with students were just as good or better than traditional in person mentoring
  • 57% highlighted the positive environmental impact of not having to travel to face-to-face meetings

SIR, a rewarding partnership

Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, and employers expect high levels of such skills from the next generation of employees. Unfortunately, only a few students have an opportunity to learn and develop in these areas, leaving them to struggle in the real world.  Participating in the SIR helps young people think like social entrepreneurs, gives them access to the latest technology and shows that starting their own business can be a viable career choice.

In 2013 alone 43,000 students from 1,700 schools in 19 countries took part in this competition and were coached by more than 800 HP employees. Connected by leading technologies, such as HP MyRoom, students around the world collaborated with HP mentors to create viable business concepts.

The participants came up with 1,550 innovative ideas during the 2013 edition. The top 20 teams in each country were paired with HP employees from around the world, who connected with the finalists online or face-to-face to help them bring their concepts to life. 19 teams competed in the final round of the competition and their business plans were judged by the HP coaches through the HP MyRoom technology. 

Further opportunities

The Pwee Foundation will support students participating in the Social Innovation Relay by offering a unique opportunity, the “SIR Concept to Reality”. The teams with the highest business potential will be selected and the Foundation will provide coaching to fully develop the business idea into a complete viable business plan. The successful teams will gain access to fund raising opportunities and resources to start their social enterprise. The Pwee Foundation will provide oversight of the incubation of the business from concept to reality.  


About JA Worldwide®

JA Worldwide is one of the largest global NGOs dedicated to addressing fundamental social and economic challenges of young people by educating and empowering them to transform their future and own their economic success. Through cutting-edge, experiential learning in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship, JA Worldwide effectively broadens the canvass of possibility for young people and enriches their ability to contribute to the strength of their families, communities, and economies. The 121-country JA Worldwide network is powered by 400,000 volunteers and mentors from all sectors of society, reaching 10.1 million students around the world.

For more information, visit

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more.

I accept cookies from this site: