Kiel/Hamburg, 6 October 2021: Ten school teams from Germany and seven from Hong Kong, Switzerland, the UK and the USA came together for the digital international finals of the YES! – Young Economic Summit from 22 til 24 September 2021. YES! is the biggest school competition for business and society in Germany. This year, 700 students worked in 71 school teams on solving problems for six months. The first international finals of the YES! voted the team from Max-Planck-Gymnasium Gelsenkirchen as winners. They developed an app that allows employees to rate family friendliness at their company.
“People who want to reconcile work and family life need a company that plays along. Our solution for this is the app KINT. In our app, employees can transparently rate their employer according to family-friendly aspects. Job applicants can see in the ranking which enterprises are compatible with their way of life.” With this solution the students from Max-Planck-Gymnasium Gelsenkirchen hope to counter falling birth rates and overloading the old age pension system.
Their comment: “It was a great experience for us to participate in the YES! We hope we can inspire other young people to engage in finding solutions for societal challenges. And we want our idea to contribute to a sustainable improvement of work-life-balance.”
Dr Daniel Kamhöfer (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) and Dr Matthias Westphal (RWI – Leibniz-Institute for Economic Research) served as academic mentors and partners for the team from Gelsenkirchen.
Their statement: “It’s a brilliant achievement for the students! Winning the competition is a big success, but also the initial idea which led to winning. An app allowing to rate enterprises according to their family friendliness is a very concrete approach which can help improve the work-life-balance. Expecting parents can make informed decisions about their work and companies are incentivised to improve their family friendliness. We have been much impressed how confidently the students presented their topic before the experts. After all, starting a family is a long time away in the future for them and thus still very abstract.”
The project team from North Rhine-Westphalia spent more than six month preparing their topic, supported by experts from the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) and the RWI – Leibniz-Institute for Economic Research. The award ceremony will be held digitally with the help of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Second place went to the Annette-Kolb-Gymnasium Traunstein from Bavaria, whose idea was “Get ToGether to get better!”, which aims to improve financial skills among refugees and non-refugees in Germany (https://www.young-economic-summit.org/annette-kolb-gymnasium-traunstein-2021/). The Albert-Einstein-Gymnasium Frankenthal from Rhineland-Palatinate won third place with another idea for the better integration of refugees where playful aspects dominate: “Come together” (https://www.young-economic-summit.org/albert-einstein-gymnasium-frankenthal-2021/). The special award “YES! International Award” went to South Forsyth High School, Cummings, Georgia, USA.
The YES! jury prize for “Best Scientific Analysis” was given to Landschulheim Grovesmühle in Saxony-Anhalt and to Deutsche Berufsschule Hong Kong. Both teams now have the opportunity to publish their solution in the online and print editions of the scholarly journal “Wirtschaftsdienst”. The researchers who monitored the teams will be co-authors.
The “YES! – Young Economic Summit” has been the largest school competition around economic and societal challenges for Generation Z since 2015. In 2021, teams from Germany, Europe, Asia and America discussed their solutions and finally decided for themselves who the winner should be.
150 young people discussed their ideas with guests from all over the world during the first international YES! finals. Experts from Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA attended. Among them were Juliane Seifert (State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth), Christoph Heinrich (Board member of the WWF Germany), Sami Kanaan (Mayor of Geneva) or Estelle Göger (Member of the Cabinet of the Commissioner for the Economy at the European Commission).
About the YES!
“YES! – Young Economic Summit” 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. The chosen solutions receive awards and are handed over publicly to suitable bodies for implementation and tracking. 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 Energy. It is a joint project of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the Joachim Herz Foundation. In 2020, the YES! received the “Raising the Profile of Education and Science Diplomacy” award of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Also in 2021, the prototype YES! MINT started, which involves grades 5-9 at the interface between MINT and business.
About the Joachim Herz Foundation
The Joachim Herz Foundation is mainly operative in the fields of natural sciences, business and personal development. In these fields it also funds small, innovative projects of third parties. Since 2017, the foundation has also been funding research projects in the fields of medicine, law and engineering. The Joachim Herz Foundation was established in 2008.