School competition YES! – Young Economic Solutions 2023 honours visionary ideas of the next generation

Young, creative, trendsetting: 160 students from Germany attend YES! national finals at Bucerius Law School

Kiel, Hamburg, 28 September 2023: The national school competition YES! 2023 ended successfully after a three-day marathon of ideas. Young talents claimed the limelight again this year, and the winning teams offered impressive ideas in the areas of sustainable supply chains, health provision, animal welfare, and financial education.

The German Professional School Hong Kong secured first place with their innovative solution “Sea Share – dream big, share cargo!”. The students developed an online platform which aims to reduce the number of empty shipping runs by brokering free container space between enterprises of all sizes. A valuable approach to meet the global challenges in supply chains and supply bottlenecks.

Immediately after the award ceremony, the team’s speaker Lauritz Denkmann said: “The presentations were fabulous, but what I at least enjoyed just as much was to meet the people behind the presentations and to have an exchange with all of you. YES! has been a great and unique experience for which we want to say thank you.”

The Gymnasium Leopoldinum from Passau (Bavaria) placed second. Their app “Pharmafinder” wants to enable end users of mediactions to circumvent supply bottlenecks in the future, by letting them check the availability of drugs in local pharmacies directly from home and thus reducing search times and routes. A Leopoldinum student commented: “Most of all I want to say again, from the bottom of my heart, that the debating rounds with experts and students are truly brilliant, because we can’t really have this kind of experience at school!” 

In third place, the Helene-Lange-Gymnasium from Rendsburg in Schleswig-Holstein scored with their initiative “Rewarding animal welfare, fostering quality: Together for an animal-respecting future”. It wants to redirect meat consumption from less to more sustainable levels of livestock farming. They want to support the marketing of sustainable meat products with a combination of shocking images on packaging, an animal welfare tax and financial incentives. On of the team members said: “We’re happy that we can go to Berlin and present our idea again and to explain exactly what our idea is, and perhaps to gain support from politics, because that’s what our idea needs right now: getting politics involved.”

Honorary mention goes to the Best Scientific Analysis Award given to the Gymnasium bei St. Michael in Schwäbisch Hall (Baden-Württemberg). Their project “Cash Coach” relies on learning through play to bring financial education to young people.

“We are immensely proud of our students,” Andrea Schmidt, project manager of YES!, summed up the event’s emotions. She highlighted the valuable contribution of experts, teachers and supporting institutions to the realisation of this instructive and innovative competition.

Professor Marianne Saam (ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics) and Dr Wolf Prieß (Joachim Herz Foundation) stressed the importance of the YES! as a forum for economic education and the fostering of young research talents. Professor Marianne Saam said: “A successful YES! enriches all participants. We receive ideas from the youngest generation able to participate in research who can take an unbiased look at the problems. We can inspire them to get involved with economics even beyond the competition. Solutions are put on the road and these ideas are precisely what society needs.”

“I have been very much impressed again by how much creativity and how many sound ideas young people bring to meeting economic problems. For the first time this year, two very different solutions for the same question have been selected with Pharmafinder and Sea Share. It shows how many possibilities there are to help shape economic reality independently and sustainably,” said Dr Wolf Prieß, Head of Programme Area Economy at Joachim Herz Foundation. Stephanie Bussler from the Initiative for Economic Youth Education also had a positive comment: “Everyone can make the world a tiny bit better. I am very much impressed by these young people who have put their time and their energy into their projects. When I offer input and advice, I take a lot back from this day for myself!”

During “YES! – Young Economic Solutions” 2023, Germany’s largest school competition for business and society, nearly 600 students from the entire country developed innovative solutions for flobal economic challenges. After the successful regional finals of 2023, Hamburg hosted the YES! national finals from 18 to 20 September 2023. The 14 best teams from Germany and three teams from the USA, 160 students in all, presented their best solutions for current economic and social problems in competition. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr Robert Habeck, is the patron of the YES!.

About the YES!:

YES! – Young Economic Solutions“ is one of the largest school competitions around economic and societal challenges for the young generation. Students work out solutions to global economic, ecological and societal problems on their own and present these in English at a school conference, the “YES! – Young Economic Summit”. Through debate with leading personalities and other students they improve their view of global interrelations and develop their own innovative solutions. The best solutions are chosen by democratic vote. All participating schools receive continuous support for research, presentation and media communication on their way to the YES!. The YES! thus adopts the recommendations of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany which demand that students be enabled to use media critically. The “YES! – Young Economic Summit” is under the patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. It is a joint project of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the Joachim Herz Foundation.