Junior Achievement’s Company Program teaches lessons in entrepreneurship

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Englewood High School students of JA company, “School Swag,” from left to right: Almir Keserovic, Tyree Silver, Anthony Montgomery and Reid Ellis. The company sold t-shirts for Spring Break 2015.

The JA Company Program lets high school students become entrepreneurs and puts them face-to-face with all the challenges associated with it, including budgeting, teamwork, inventory and marketing.

Seniors at Englewood High School have been facing those challenges all school year running their t-shirt company, “School Swag.”

The students took on leadership roles in finance, marketing, supply and demand and operations. They also learned the importance of communicating effectively as a salesperson.

Once they decided to sell t-shirts and tank tops for Spring Break, their first challenge was getting an inventory of shirts. Luckily, a connection with Mandarin Rotary member, Ladson Montgomery, came through with a shirt donation and the students were ready to begin sketching their designs.

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The participating students are part of Englewood’s “Promotional Enterprises” program which provides courses in business education with a focus on marketing and manufacturing. Given the nature of that program, tools including a printing press and computers equipped with design software were already at their fingertips – a perfect resource for their t-shirt business.

“Out of many ideas, we narrowed it down to t shirts and tank tops for Spring Break,” said Reid Ellis, 18. “We came up with two prints: one said ‘Spring Break 2015’ and the other, ‘I Can’t Keep Calm It’s Spring Break.’”

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With a production cost of $3 to print, the students sold their shirts to fellow students and faculty for $10 during lunch.

They marketed their product with posters around campus and a commercial on the school news. Word-of-mouth spread further awareness.

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“This program has helped prepare us and put us in the mindset of what it’s like in business in the real world,” said Reid. “It’s definitely a good program to be a part of because it gives us leadership opportunities.”

“Being in high school, most of us aren’t aware of everything it takes to run a business. This gives us a snapshot. It can help us later on in our jobs because we know what skills are required. During a job interview, mentioning that we participated in Junior Achievement can make us valuable candidates.”

The JA Company Program is also underway at Wolfson High School and new classes will start in the fall.

Get involved with JA Company Program!

If you are a small business owner, have a knack for entrepreneurship, or are interested in getting involved with JA Company Program during the 2015-2016 school year, we’d love to have you as a volunteer!

Please contact Tiffany Mackey, Junior Achievement VP of Programs, at 904-398-9944 ext.230 or email tiffany@jajax.com.

To learn more about JA Company Program, please visit our website.

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