Connecticut JA students have arrived in Washington, D.C. for the Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS)! This is the first time a JA Company Program® from Junior Achievement of Southwest New England has been selected to be one of 15 finalist teams from across the country.
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The students are from the JA Entrepreneurial Academy which founded their business, Power UP, earlier this year. The new venture was part of their participation in the JA Company Program®, through which high school students start and run a real business enterprise under the guidance of volunteers from the local business community. The teens develop a product designed to fill an unmet consumer need, produce and market their product or service, and recruit investors for their company.
The students representing Power UP at NSLS are Courtney Scalaro, Berlin High School; Seeyashree Sodani, Farmington High School; Dasha Pavlenko, Newington High School; and Natalie Rickard and Robert Sirko, Southington High School. In total, fifteen students from Avon, Berlin, Farmington, New Britain, Plainville and Southington participated in 15-week JA Entrepreneurial Academy with a team of volunteers from Stanley, Black & Decker earlier this year. The program was sponsored by Stanley, Black & Decker and HYPE (Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs).
Power UP, the company developed by the students, sold portable cell phone chargers. The business was so successful the company was able to provide stockholders with a 749 percent return on their investment. It is easy to see why these students are in the running for “most profitable company” of the year.
In Washington, Power UP will vie for four different awards. The competition’s top honor is JA Company of the Year, powered by The Hartford, with first-, second-, and third-place awards to be presented. The student companies will be assessed on their financial performance, individual team members’ personal and professional development, a self-produced commercial about their product or service, their team’s live presentation to a panel of business leaders, and their company’s performance at an Entrepreneurship Expo on Capitol Hill.
The events’ three other awards are: The ICE NYSE Foundation Best Financial Performance Award, The Microsoft Social Innovation Award, and the FedEx Access Award. The winners will be named at a gala awards dinner at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center on June 24.
The students are chaperoned for the competition by JA District Manager Lakeisha Houston and Lorraine Wicklund, a business teacher at Berlin High School and designated teacher for the JA Entrepreneurial Academy program. Jeremy Race, JA of SWNE Chief Operating Officer, will also be joining the group.