The JA Company Program is a catalyst for a new generation of entrepreneurs in Greater Washington ready to gain the skills they need to succeed and take their big idea and turn it into action. Junior Achievement of Greater Washington is committed to the boundless potential of every young person— unlocking the innate ability of students to fill a need or solve a problem in our community by launching a business venture, unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit. But the JA Company Program isn’t just for future entrepreneurs. These are real skills for real life that can help each student, no matter where they are headed, find success in the modern economy.
When students complete the Company Program, they will demonstrate the fundamental acumen needed in a successful business startup, including leadership, marketing, sales, financial management, and supply chain management. They will create a personal action plan incorporating 21st century career readiness skills. Most importantly, they will be equipped with tools to take the rudder and navigate their path to the American dream.
Each of the program’s meetings is divided into two activities and includes a team builder exercise. Company Ops is that portion of the meeting during which students build and manage their business. This usually will take the majority of the meeting time. During the Deeper Dive, near the end of the meeting, students work individually or in groups to take a closer look at a business related topic. Their work will culminate in creating a Personal Action Plan to guide them in taking next steps.
During the program, students will have the opportunity to participate in workshops that further build their 21st century entrepreneurial skills, as well as engage guest speakers and subject matter experts.
STARTUP & LAUNCH
Meeting One— Ignite your Entrepreneurial Spirit
Members examine their own entrepreneurial traits and then explore the company structure and what each member brings to the table. Members test their knowledge of entrepreneurial myths and facts.
Meeting Two— JA Launch Lesson
Meeting Three & Four— Fill a Need
Members use creative thinking and brainstorming to explore potential products and services that could fill a need or solve a problem in the market. Members participate in a group decision-making process to narrow their potential products or services.
Meeting Five & Six — Vet the Venture
Companies conduct a preliminary examination of their top potential product or services ideas and decide to move forward or return to the idea phase. Independently or in groups, members apply a SWOT analysis to their top business ideas.
Meeting Seven & Eight— Strategy and Structure Members finalize their product or services and, in business teams, begin to develop their business plan through a series of specialized tasks. Independently or in groups, members are introduced to the lean product development process.
Meeting Nine— Launch the Business
Business teams report on their tasks and findings and come to a consensus on major decisions as they launch the company and create a one-page business plan. Members practice accountability as they present their one-page business plan.
EXECUTE THE BUSINESS PLAN
Meeting Ten & Eleven— Capitalize a Venture
Business teams provide their first status update on their assigned tasks, review their priorities, and conduct ongoing company business. Independently or in groups, members examine types of capitalization and practice the art of the pitch for future start-up capital.
Meeting Twelve— Leadership
Independently or in groups, members explore aspects of leadership.
Meeting Thirteen— Sales
Independently or in groups, members practices sales techniques through a video blog.
Meeting Fourteen— Marketing and Communication
Members explore marketing through a virtual job shadow of top professionals from across the country.
Meeting Fifteen— Apply to National Student Leadership Competition. Supply chain and examine quality control techniques.
Meeting Sixteen— Know the Numbers
Members practice using the company’s financial tools for their own future business idea.
Meetings Seventeen & Eighteen— Practice presenting company and materials to local business leaders.
WRAP UP & LOOK FORWARD
Meetings nineteen & twenty of the JA Company Program are dedicated to helping students look toward the future and decide if their company is something they might want to pursue after the end of the formal program. Because at Junior Achievement, we believe that each student’s Company Program end may actually be the beginning of something.
Meeting Nineteen— Cash Out
Members conclude remaining company business and liquidate the business. Business teams compile their annual report for stakeholders.
Meeting Twenty— Move Forward
Having conclude the company business, participants create their own Personal Action Plans using knowledge gained throughout the program. Individuals explore interests, skills, preferences, and educational opportunities to focus their next professional steps.