Teen entrepreneurs take North American title by leveraging social media to promote their company.
St. Paul, Minn. – A team from St. Paul’s High School for Recording Arts has been selected by Junior Achievement as winners of the 2011 North American JA Company of the Year Competition. The teen entrepreneurs who own and operate “L.Y.M.E” (“Leave Your Mark Everywhere”) were among 14 other competing U.S. and Canadian companies. The event, at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., culminated in meetings between the U.S. teen entrepreneurs and their Congressional Members and staff on Capitol Hill, and with U.S. Small Business Administration head Karen Mills.
Team “L.Y.M.E,” produced customized radio commercials for their clients and aired them on the school’s radio program. State Farm® in Minnesota sponsored the team financially and with volunteers.
The annual North American JA Company of the Year Competition is a contest of business skills, ingenuity and innovation that focuses on the accomplishments of U.S. and Canadian JA Company Program© students, ages 15-19, during the 2010-2011 academic year. Currently reaching more than 380,000 young people a year globally, JA Company Program gives teens the skills to start and run their own businesses under the mentorship of a local business volunteer.
The teen-run companies participated in a trade fair where they promoted and sold their products and pitched their companies to a panel of judges comprised of business leaders. The companies were evaluated on their financial performance, their presentation to the judging panel and, in a new addition to this year’s event, on a commercial they self-produced and posted on Facebook. Junior Achievement students currently use JA Company Program Social—a Facebook application—to discuss and help run their student companies.
“The North American JA Company of the Year Competition is an exciting opportunity for Junior Achievement students to demonstrate the teamwork, leadership and innovative thinking that will help them drive success in the business world,” said Gina Blayney, president of Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest. “Through this competition, Junior Achievement is empowering these teen entrepreneurs to own their economic success through business ownership.”
The High School for Recording Arts team was led by Math Teacher Sayra Loftus, in her first year with the organization. HSRA is a charter high school in St. Paul that has been serving youth at risk of not graduating for the past twelve years. Said Loftus, “Having never worked with the curriculum before, the task of running the JA Company Program at HSRA was daunting at first. It was amazing to see each team member transform from a high school student consumed by the typical social-emotional issues of their age into young, confident, and focused business men and women." Team members presenting in Washington DC were LYME President, Christopher, LaShawn, LaDawn, Rosalee, and Kurtis. Other members of the team were: Christine, Tony, CJ, Davion, Silk, Rachel and Mikaela.
About Junior Achievement (JA)
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Today, 124 individual area operations reach four million students in the United States, with an additional six million students served by operations in 120 other countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.ja.org.
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Junior Achievement North American Competition Highlights