How can the founding of start-up businesses be made quick and effective? This was the question tackled by the winning student team from BBS Wirtschaft 1 Ludwisghafen over the course of the YES! – Young Economic Summit with the support of ZEW researchers. Their idea of a “company gateway” for start-ups secured them first place in a vote conducted among all the competing teams. At the official award ceremony held at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin, Minister Brigitte Zypries presented the YES! Award to the team from Ludwigshafen for coming up with the most convincing idea in the competition. The team from Ludwigshafen beat off stiff competition from teams from 13 other schools from Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein.

Economic summit for the next generation: the YES! – Young Economic Summit 2017
Economic summit for the next generation: the YES! – Young Economic Summit 2017

“What you have been able to develop is truly impressive. What you have presented are well-thought-out solutions to current issues that could really make a difference. If we don’t stop here, and really put these ideas into practice, then we will have reached our goal. I am pleased to see the winning teams being honoured with the YES! Award today,” said Brigitte Zypries at the official ceremony held at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin, which is the patron of the YES! competition.

Focusing on Germany’s sustainable growth

“Our idea of a ‘company gateway’ aims to boost the start-up economy in Germany as well as to support innovative new firms,” explained the winning team from BBS Wirtschaft 1 Ludwigshafen. Their solution envisaged the development of a public facility that would provide advice to start-ups throughout their founding and early development. Over the course of more than six months, the team worked on developing this idea with the help of economic experts from the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim. Team member Adrian Roth explained the idea of the “company gateway”: “The founding of new businesses is the key to sustainable growth in Germany. In order to get there, however, comprehensive changes are needed.” The YES! team from BBS Wirtschaft 1 Ludwigshafen is composed of Adrian Roth, Benjamin Döring, Felix Degen, Felix Mutter, Lukas Dissinger as well as their teacher Thorsten Galm, who supported the students in the competition.

Other student teams receive awards for their solutions

In second place came the team from the Richard-Hallmann-Schule Trappenkamp in Schleswig-Holstein. The team was able to win over their competitors with their idea of MatchEd, a practice-oriented solution for an innovative education platform, which prepares students for the challenges of digitalisation. Third place went to the team from the Heinrich-Heine-Gymnasium in Hamburg, who tackled the problem of how to encourage sustainable consumption and developed the idea of a “sustainability kit” for schools. ZEW is a YES! research partner and mentored the winning team as well as ten other teams from the Southwest region, including the students from the Werner-Heisenberg-Gymnasium Weinheim, who won the prize for the best performance in media relations.

YES! will be back in 2018

The 2018 YES! competition is set to explore equally innovative ideas. Next year, the competition will be expanded to include schools from seven additional German states. This way, students from Brandenburg, Berlin, Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern will have the chance to take part. In 2018, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research in Essen will be joining the YES! competition as new scientific partners. According to Dr. Willi Scholz, YES! project leader at ZBW, the YES! – Young Economic Summit is likely to become a nationwide competition by the end of 2019, including schools from Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia as well.

About YES!

The YES! – Young Economic Summit is one of the biggest school competitions aimed at getting young people to engage with economic and social issues. High school students come up with their own solutions to global economic, ecological and social problems and present them in English as part of a conference for other students – the YES! – Young Economic Summit. Through discussions with leading economists and other students, they focus on global connections and develop their own innovative solutions. The best solutions are determined by a vote. The winning solutions are awarded a prize and publicly forwarded to those in a position to investigate how they might be put into practice.

In the run-up to YES!, all students participating in the project receive continued support and guidance in topics such as how to carry out research, give presentations and engage with the media. YES! included these topics following the recommendation from the Standing Conference of the Ministers for Education and Cultural Affairs that high school students should be taught how to exercise critical judgement when using media applications. The “YES! – Young Economic Summit” falls under the patronage of the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and is a joint project by the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the Joachim Herz Stiftung. The Leibniz Association’s scientific partner institutions are the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) and the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg.

Minister Brigitte Zypries at the official award ceremony at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin
Minister Brigitte Zypries at the official award ceremony at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin
YES! team from BBS Wirtschaft 1 Ludwigshafen
YES! team from BBS Wirtschaft 1 Ludwigshafen

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