Learning the business of doing business

Photo by Carrie Debrone
Photo by Carrie Debrone

Young entrepreneurs strut their stuff at Junior Achievement trade show

Carrie Debrone

There is no better teacher than taking hold of an opportunity and trying something for yourself.

That’s clearly the philosophy behind Junior Achievement’s (JA) Company Program, a program that encourages and supports high school students as they create and run their own businesses. The students collaborate with professional volunteers to design and operate a real business, leading to a greater understanding of the role of business in society and what it takes to guide your own enterprise through the risks and rewards, maintain ethical standards and maintain positive relationships with business partners, clients and others in the business community.

The JA Company Program runs from the end of October to mid-April each year in the Region of Waterloo, offering an opportunity to get experience in marketing, sales pitching and event execution. Nine JA companies from Central Ontario competed at the 3rd annual Sun Life JA of Waterloo Region Company Trade Show on March 13. Each company profiled a new product it created and designed and came to the show prepared to sell it. The companies were then judged by a panel of Sun Life financial volunteers.

This year’s winning company, called Scanned and Found, created a sticker with a personalized Qr code on it that can be manufactured to contain personal contact information.
The sticker can then be attached to personal items and if they are ever lost, the owner can then be contacted by scanning the sticker.

Other companies at the show included E.T.C., which sold gift mugs with chocolates and gel candles; As We Grow, selling its flagship product the ‘Mystery Plant” which blooms into a mystery flower; Priceless, a company offering personalized greeting cards and 4 GB USB bracelets; Sigma Designs selling the Pocketer; Limitless, selling duct tape wallets and T-shirts; Side Kits selling a mini emergency kit with 31 items; Asterisk Inc. selling fashion bracelets; Delta Style selling crew necks, mugs and gift boxes; dOts, offering UV bead bracelets that change colour when exposed to sunlight; Doce selling soap, hand cream and fragrances; Showbiz Events, a service company, which was selling tickets to a talent show called Dramatis that it created showcasing the talents of local young performers; Wired, a company offering an array of decorative handmade candles; Ecovation selling a pouch that holds your phone while it is charging at an outlet; Wraps industries selling Snap Jax, a wire winder to keep headphone wires neatly organized and protected; Torrid selling reusable, portable heat packs and Insula selling scarves, travel mugs, chocolates and seeds.