ABC 7: Fairfax County students create business then pitch products in national competition

These students from Fairfax County are all about their business. In just six months they formed their company through a Junior Achievement after-school program that's trained each of them to be an entrepreneur.

"It is actually life-changing and I've actually gained so much experience from this program," said Rhea Tuli of Chantilly High School.

"In building their own business the students are not only learning entrepreneurial skills, but are building foundations for skills they're going to learn in the workplace, at home, in life," said Junior Achievement of Greater Washington's Vice President of Education Chelsea Soneira.

"They offer us mentors, life lasting relationships, and they give us a safe place to build a company from the ground up," said 15-year-old Vishal Kanigicherla who attends Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria.

The Sipsy team has already sold nearly 500 straws and made more than $5,000 in revenue.

At the Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit competition in Northwest, Sipsy and 14 other teams pitched their company’s product before a panel of judges. The top-performing group takes home $5,000 for each team member.

"It's put me in a position where I've had to speak publicly very often and I think that I've gotten very comfortable with it," said Soneira.

"We're also currently lobbying the Fairfax County School Board in order to reduce the use of single-use plastics in schools and the community," said Kanigicherla.

Five percent of the proceeds from the sale of the Sipsy Straw go to SEE Turtles; an organization that protects endangered sea turtles.

If you'd like to learn more about the Sipsy Straw click here.