This content is part of JA Europe‘s Knowledge Network on New Europe


Young JA Europe students from the UK, are travelling to the Asia Pacific JA Company of the Year Competition in Seoul, South Korea on 21-24 February, after winning the ‘Hyundai Skills for the Future Award’ last year with their mini-company, SoberDrive.

Three members of the team; Lauren Palmer, Callum Coles and Samuel Roberts accompanied by their teacher Hannah Clark and their Hyundai UK mentor Vincenzo Scognamiglio will share their success story with the JA Asia Pacific network.

The mini-company founders, who developed an innovative breathalyser incorporated within a car-key, answered our questions about their ambitions and achievements so far.

JA Europe SoberDrive


1. After winning the European Finals of the ‘Skills for the Future Competition’ in 2015, could you imagine that less than one year later, you would be offered the opportunity to travel around the world to showcase your success story and get inspired by other young people?

It is amazing that we have been given the opportunity to showcase our business at another JA competition, halfway around the world! No JA student-team from Europe has ever travelled to South Korea before, so we are all very excited to make new discoveries and get inspired by the successful Asia & Pacific companies, especially because we were recently in their shoes and know how beneficial the experience was for us.

2. What are your expectations for visiting South Korea? We are excited to spend time in a city that is so technologically advanced, while still cherishing their history and traditions. We also look forward to meeting the other competing mini-companies and learning what products and services they’ve brought to the market, as every age brings new innovation.

As young people, events like this help us get used to the professional working environment of business. We see this competition as an opportunity to build on our confidence and presentation skills, as we will be sharing our SoberDrive story with both small and large audiences. Moreover, during interviews we are able to strengthen our product knowledge, allowing us to gain a deeper understanding of our potential clients and markets. While at the event, we hope to showcase our company, and increase awareness of drink-driving problems worldwide. Finally, we expect to meet with industry experts who will give us more advice and feedback on our product, all extremely useful tools in helping us to progress further.

3. Is the JA experience helping you open your eyes to the global business potential of your company?

Definitely. Competing in JA Europe has opened a whole new world of potential, expanding our viewpoint to really think global. In Prague last year, we received a lot of positive feedback on our product, which gave us confidence that there was demand for our product outside of the UK. This was confirmed when we won not only the ‘Audience Award’, but also the ‘Hyundai Skills for the Future Award’ for overall best business. Winning both awards was a huge shock for us and really gave us the self-confidence to grow further. We have kept in contact with people we met through our JA experience, something which was been useful when developing our product.