Junior Achievement – A Vital Link in Our Business Community

Having started out as a young entrepreneur myself, I am  not only encouraged, but inspired by the great work of Junior Achievement (JA) in teaching critical business skills and fueling the entrepreneurial spirit in our up and coming business community. Though I have been a supporter for years, the opportunity to actively participate in recent JA events has allowed me to gain a new appreciation and respect for how well the organization is run, the caliber of the participants, and how many young people are impacted by their important mandate. In fact, I recently joined the Board of Directors and have become one of the organization’s most devoted advocates!

122 Countries Around the World, 16,000 Students Locally

With a presence in over 122 countries around the world, Junior Achievement (JA) is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. JA Northern Alberta & NWT alone reaches over 16,000 students each year and that number continues to grow.

Mission: “To inspire and educate young Canadians to experience free enterprise, understand business and economics and develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills.”

JA Company Program Showcases Outstanding Talent and Potential

One of the organization’s signature events is the JA Company Program. This unique opportunity encourages students aged 15 to 18 to set up and run a real enterprise under the guidance of a mentor from their community. Participants select a product, develop a marketing plan and then pitch their idea to a panel of judges comprised of business leaders in a format similar to “Dragon’s Den”.

I was invited to sit on this year’s panel and was, frankly, overwhelmed by the quality of the presentations. The intelligence, articulation and confidence of these young entrepreneurs far exceeded my expectations; as did the professionalism of the event. Held at West Edmonton Mall, it was also taped for television broadcast.

Team Mugshot then went on to Washington, D.C. to compete for the title of the 2011 North American JA Company of the Year, where they did us proud!

JA Company Program is just one example of the many personal and professional development opportunities supported by Junior Achievement. Visit their website to learn more.

A Challenge to All Alberta & NWT Business Leaders

Junior Achievement is helping to shape the future of our community and I challenge all business leaders to become involved with this fantastic organization. Attend one of the events where young JA entrepreneurs showcase their skills and you will be inspired to contribute. Opportunities range from providing one-day internships to sharing your expertise in classroom settings to mentoring groups in the JA Company Program and more. JA arms teens with the skills they need to achieve success. I encourage you to be a part of their success!