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Junior Enterprises—why you should join one

What exactly is a Junior Enterprise, how do you join one, and why should you consider it? N26 explains it all in this short, practical guide.

5 min read

In France, Junior Enterprises are educational associations that make it possible for students to apply the skills they’ve learned in their field of study in companies, communities, or startups. Essentially, they aim to bridge the gap between high school and professional life. But what exactly is a Junior Enterprise, how do you join one, and why should you consider it? N26 explains it all in this short, practical guide.

What is a Junior Enterprise? 

First of all, it’s important to know that, contrary to the name, a Junior Enterprise is not a company in the legal sense. Junior Enterprises have educational and economic association status in France, under the 1901 law

Today, there are nearly 200 Junior Enterprises within large establishments, such as business schools, engineering schools, as well as a few universities such as the Sciences Po, the Sorbonne, and IAE (French Institute of Business Management).

Junior Enterprises are run entirely by students. They focus their activities on consultations with entrepreneurs, VSEs/SMEs, and large international groups.

The concept of the Junior Enterprise came about at the end of the 1960s, created by students from major business school ESSEC. A National Confederation of Junior Enterprises (CNJE) was then created in 1969, to organize these hybrid bodies which were highly innovative for their time. A code of ethics and Junior Enterprise status were born, allowing the confederation to make sure that member Junior Enterprises met their requirements in terms of quality and ethics.

Already a part of a Junior Enterprise and want to take the next step? Read our guide on becoming a student entrepreneur.

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How do Junior Enterprises work?

Junior Enterprises function as consulting firms, with the business area depending on the school they’re linked with. Assignments range from creating a business plan and carrying out market research to conducting an audit in engineering and setting up websites. However, the process is always the same: each Junior Enterprise carries out studies, with an analysis phase, followed by implementation and, finally, a report.

When it comes to pay within Junior Enterprises, it varies according to the school and the assignment. Students are generally paid when they participate in conducting studies. According to the CNJE, student members of Junior Enterprises pocket an average of €300 per month. This actually counts as additional income, ideal for anyone wanting to supplement their main source of income.

Are you a student who sometimes struggles at the end of the month? Read our article on how you can save while you’re studying.

Why join a Junior Enterprise?

The reasons for joining a Junior Enterprise vary depending on the level of involvement and position held, with roles ranging from members to administrators. In any case, the main advantage is the professional experience it brings, especially through the “soft skills” you can develop—including teamwork, time management, adaptability, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit, just to name a few. 

This experience helps when it comes to internships carried out with companies and helps students gain confidence—because sometimes you’ll find yourself face to face with the head of a large company! On your CV or in an interview, experience with a Junior Enterprise (JE) enhances the skills you’ve acquired through your education, and really helps set you apart from other candidates. Finally, it can also be a springboard for joining a company you’ve carried out an assignment for. 

How can you join a Junior Enterprise?

You can join a Junior Enterprise at several different levels:

  • As an administrator. In this case, you’ll have a part-time or full-time position which could excuse you either partly or wholly from your studies. Because of the responsibilities involved (in the office or in the hubs), the selection process is quite demanding and includes interviews, written tests, and even role-playing scenarios. Although voluntary, becoming a JE administrator requires a certain degree of skill and involvement which you’ll have to show!
  • As an active member. In this case, you’ll have less involvement and will only take part in studies. To apply, you’ll need to contact your school or university’s Junior Enterprise and submit your application.

Fancy applying? See the full list of Junior Enterprises.

How do you set up a Junior Enterprise?

Is your school missing a Junior Enterprise and you want to create one? To get Junior Enterprise status, you’ll need to be patient—there are several steps before the confederation will recognize your organization as a Junior Enterprise:

  1. First, your organization must be presented to the CNJE to obtain the initial status of “Junior Creation.” To do this, the association’s statutes need to have been submitted to the administrative office, a bank account needs to have been opened, and the organization should already have several studies under its belt.
  2. The association can then become a “Junior Business Incubator”. During this period, the organization will have to prove itself through studies it carries out on behalf of companies.
  3. As the final step, the association obtains Junior Enterprise recognition. To keep this status, however, your Junior Enterprise will have to ensure the balance of its accounts, as well as the quality of the work carried out through the assignments it completes.

For examples of projects carried out by Junior Enterprises, you can check out the projects selected by the CNJE.

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