From desk to heart – what I learned from volunteering.

  • Veröffentlicht am 23, Oktober 2023
  • Geschätzte Lesezeit: 4 Minuten

At Avanade we’re using the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem to make a genuine human impact across the globe. A bold vision that we not only live by when working on our projects but beyond our everyday consulting routine. At Avanade Switzerland, educating and supporting young people with knowledge and insights from business practice is key to us. So as a proud partner of Young Enterprise Switzerland (YES) we participated in the Company Programme for young entrepreneurs and awarded the Moonshot Award for the second time now.

And the great thing at Avanade is, that we not only have the freedom, but also the time to volunteer in a wide variety of ways. Every employee has the opportunity to allocate 8 hours per month to volunteer at their organization of choice or get involved in existing company partnerships just like YES.

I have been a volunteer alongside my job as a change consultant for some years now because I would like to give back and inspire my colleagues to do the same. Together with others, I established volunteering in Switzerland and am happy to see that more and more colleagues are starting to share my enthusiasm and now want to take part in the initiatives.

But my commitment is much more than giving back. My engagement also gives me the opportunity to be creative - for example, in setting up campaigns, advertising or motivating. The skills I am learning can be put to good use in my everyday life and job. And on top of that, I am expanding my professional network even further.

My personal highlight: The YES Company Programme

Supporting the Young Enterprise Switzerland (YES) initiative is an important part of our volunteering. YES is a non-profit organisation and part of the international program Junior Achievement (JA). The initiative develops and supervises practice-oriented business and opinion-forming programmes for school students with offers such as "Fit for Business" or "Youth Debates".

Personally, the Company Programme of YES is particularly close to my heart. It’s a popular competition that was created in close cooperation with Swiss schools and partners from the business world. The idea behind the programme is to support young people as they set up their very own successful mini enterprise – with everything that goes with it. As the coordinator of our Moonshot Award, this and last year, I was able to experience how this works in practice.

Here's how the Company programme is structured: students aged 16 to 20 get one year to develop and implement their own business idea - from the product to the business plan to concepts for sales and marketing. Then experts evaluate what the teams have developed. The top 25 mini-enterprises have the opportunity to present their ideas at the national finals at Zurich Main Station and the best team takes part in the Europe-wide final of JA Europe.

Moonshot Award: In the “Dragon's Den”

What if a team wants to take their company beyond the competition and become a real start-up? That's where the Moonshot Award from Accenture and Avanade comes in.

All teams from the Company Programme are eligible to apply for the Moonshot Award and three of them make it to the final selection, where finally the "Dragons' Den" are waiting for the finalists. The Dragons, that is our jury with seniors from Avanade and Accenture: Thomas Janssen (Avanade), Simona Roberta Pastena (Avanade), Jessica Enstedt (Accenture), Mathias Daube (Accenture) and Mathias Dietrich (YES Alumni). But don't worry, our Dragons don't bite! They select the team that they believe has the greatest potential for innovation in the future and take great pleasure in supporting young people with their experience.

“Lots of team spirit! The candidates took a lot of time to prepare, and I am very impressed by the great ideas”, Simona said. Mathias added: “I am impressed how these young people presented their company, how they put in so much effort to present this to us. Now we have the possibility to support them!”

The winning team then receives free consulting hours from Avanade and Accenture to further build up their enterprise. This year we awarded the NOMU team - 6 students from the Wirtschaftsgymnasium Hottingen in Zurich – who built up a promising tea business.

The NOMU team was really excited about their win and I am happy that with our support they can now take the next steps. Jessica Enstedt , the Swiss Accenture Hub Lead in Innovation & Design, will now support the team with consulting hours on a selected topic.

Making a difference with time and energy

It was an exciting time for me! I had the task of coordinating the partnership with YES and supporting both the participating colleagues from Accenture and Avanade as well as the young people in the process. In doing so, I had a variety of tasks. From organising the location, to advertising with the winners from the previous year, to communicating and setting up the programme.

During the pitches it was great to feel the enthusiasm and the spirit of our young applicants. I wish I would have had the chance in school to be part of such an inspiring program. I was amazed with the energy of everyone, how well they built their mini enterprise and how eager they are to continue with this adventure. The teams hopefully learned a lot from our Dragons.

What is my personal take away from the project? First and foremost, I admire the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and courage that the young people have shown. And I'm pleased that I was able to bring my talents to bear very well on the Moonshot Award.

Giving back has many positive effects: young people and other groups we serve grow through this collaboration. But it is also a matter of taking: These projects give us a lot of new energy and inspiration.

PS Next year we will be back with the Moonshot Award. We look forward to many new and exciting business ideas!

If you are interested in a career at Avanade visit our careers page and learn more about life at Avanade.

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