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The 2023 JA Asia Pacific Company of the Year Competition (2023 JA AP COYC) was hosted by The Global Education & Leadership Foundation (tGELF)/JA India from May 29 - June 2, 2023. Sponsored by Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF), this annual event was held as an in-person event post-pandemic, in Gurgaon, Haryana, India.

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This year, participating members at this regional challenge were India (host) – 2 teams, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines – 2 teams, Thailand and Singapore – 2 teams.

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Event highlights
Icebreaker & Mentoring Session on Business Presentation
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The ice breaker was conducted to provide an opportunity for the students to meet and get to know each other. The session consisted of a stimulating game for active participation from the students. During the game, the students from different teams were placed in different groups to collaboratively solve a given mystery. The activities were led by 2 facilitators (tGELF/JA India team). The objective was to encourage interaction between students from each of the participating countries, work in teams and build skills critical for budding entrepreneurs.

The Mentoring Session on Business Presentation was led by Rasika Chandihok (Lead-Low Carbon and Mobility, BP India). She gave the companies insights and guidelines on the elements of an effective business presentation.

Icebreaker & Mentoring Session on Business Presentation

The session on Project Management Essentials started with Mr. Nikhil Rai (Sr. Manager, Providence India), introducing the concept of Project management.
He went on to cover phases of Project Management, the anatomy of a Project Manager as well as key elements of Project Planning with a focus on understanding the role of a Project Manager.

Mr. Kalyan Sunkari (Sr. Engineer, Providence, India) talked about Stakeholder Management, Risk Management and tools for Project Management.

Inauguration Ceremony
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The opening ceremony began with greetings from the host, followed by the traditional lighting of lamp by Mr. Shiv Khemka (Executive Chairman, tGELF/JAIndia), Ms. Gowri Ishwaran (Vice Chairperson, tGELF/JA India), Ms. Anca Slușanschi(Director, PMIEF Board of Directors). Mr Maziar Sabet (President & CEO JA Asia Pacific) and Ms. Dinu Raheja (Executive Director, tGELF/JA India).

Welcome address by Ms. Dinu Raheja, was followed by a video message from Mr. Asheesh Advani (President & CEO, JA Worldwide) who spoke about the relevance of JA as a worldwide organisation building skills and an entrepreneurial mindset in the youth to make them job creators. Mr. Khemka set the tone for the 2023 JAAP Company of the Year Competition by leading the gathering through a session of mindfulness, emphasizing the importance of gratitude and conscious entrepreneurship. The opening remarks by Mr. Maziar Sabet, emphasized on walking the path of service.

The opening ceremony closed with providing the gathering a glimpse of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India through specially curated performances of Bharatnatyam and Mayurbhanj Chhau, classical and folk Indian dance forms.

V20 Panel Discussion
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The inauguration ceremony of the 2023 JA Asia Pacific COY Competition was followed by a panel discussion, hosted by tGELF Values 20 [V20] in partnership with Civil 20 [C20] and Youth 20 [Y20] under India's presidency of the G20.

The theme for the discussion was Conscious Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Skill Development to achieve 2030 SDG Agenda.

In alignment with G20 India’s strong emphasis on employment, entrepreneurship and sustainability, the discussion was focused on the importance of values based 21st century leadership skills in the entrepreneurship ecosystem as we tackle the upcoming global challenges.

The esteemed panel was composed of Gowri Ishwaran (Vice-Chair, V20 India), Alison Barrett (Country Director, British Council India), Smita Pandey Mishra (Charter Member, TiE Delhi-NCR and Founder, Fandoro), Rajiv Gupta (President, Policy Bazaar Fintech Ltd), Varun Jhaveri (Advisor, Y20 India) andClaire (Vidya) Moleon (Associate Coordinator, C20 Gender Equality & Women's Empowerment Working Group).

Talent Show

First day of the event came to a close with a talent show where the observers, chaperones and the students took the stage by storm. Student participants from the different countries came together to showcase their musical brilliance. Some of the teams brought their regional flavour to the stage with cultural dance performances.

The talent show brought the teams closer, which acted as a melting pot of different cultures.

Business Pitches and Panel Interviews

Day 2 buzzed with the energy and excitement of the student teams rearing to present their business ideas to the judges. Team commercial videos were played at the opening raising the excitement for what was to come. An esteemed panel of 11 judges, experts in various aspects of finance, HR and entrepreneurship composed the panel. The assessment process consisted of a 4-minute business pitch made by the student company. 10-15 minutes interview per team was undertaken by the judges at the end of the pitches. Feedback from the judges was provided to the teams. This was open to the accompanying chaperones and observers to attend. A total of 10 JA Companies were divided into 3 separate groups and paired with a panel of judges assessing each group.

All the observers and chaperons were part of the business pitches.

In the panel interviews, the teams interacted one-on-one with the judges. The learning emanating from this experience will help our students’ initiate strategies that will lead to sustainable development in the future.

Trade Fair
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The student companies had the unique opportunity to participate in a Trade Fair. They set up their stalls and showcased their products to both the judges and the general public.

Meanwhile, a panel of judges spent time and visited each stall. They had the opportunity for a direct interaction with each student company in a marketplace environment. They interviewed the students and assessed the displays.

Voting for the Popular Choice Award also took place during the Trade fair.

This unique opportunity provided the student companies with hands-on experience of sales and the ethics of appreciating others. This marked the end of the competition.

Gala Dinner & Awards Night
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The Trade Fair was followed by an evening of celebrations. The award ceremony started with the JA Companies walking in with their respective national flags, followed by a welcome address by Ms Dinu Raheja. Ms Gowri Ishwaran delivered the Opening Address in which she emphasised on the importance of conscious entrepreneurship. In the Keynote Address by Ms. Anca Slușanschi, she reminded us that our world is constantly changing, and it is on us to lead that change.

The evening moved forward with a special cultural performance that showcased both classical and folk-dance forms from various regions across India, providing the gathering of an essence that is India.

The De La Vega Video raised the excitement for the results and the anticipation of the team that will represent Asia Pacific in the Global Competition. The awards were announced by Ms Dinu Raheja. Business video of each winning student company was played as recognition of their achievement. Closing remarks from Mr. Maziar Sabet fittingly summarized the experience and celebration of the first in-person JA AP COYC after the pandemic.

The Winners
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JA Asia Pacific, together with host tGELF/JA India, would like to express our sincere gratitude to PMIEF as sponsor, all JA Members, students, parents and families, schools, community and supporters who made this event a success. Together, we can transform lives!

Event Highlights
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