Greenville students are winners at JA Pitch Day competition
GRAND RAPIDS — Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes recently hosted its virtual JA Pitch Day event, where one team took home the top honors with the following awards: Best Business Pitch and JA Company Program of the Year.
Herb & Ivy from Greenville Senior High School is a student company creating potted succulent plants with inspirational words. Herb & Ivy took home the award for “Best Business Pitch” and “JA Company Program of the Year.” The team is comprised of juniors Carlie Peterman, Ally Carew and Kaitlinh Nguyen and senior Heidi Raih. Each team member was awarded a cash prize.
The team sold 138 pots during the duration of their business venture, learning along the way research and development principles, the importance of managing expenses, perseverance, and marketing to promote sales.
“The junior achievement pop-up program provided a unique experience for my students to open their own temporary business,” Greenville High School teacher, Kelly Roney said. “With the guidance of our JA coordinator, Missy Summers, and local business woman April Petersen, all six of our businesses were successful in making a profit. What an invaluable experience for these young entrepreneurs.”
High school student teams who participated in a 2020-2021 JA Company Program were eligible to compete in the event. The JA Company Program is a 13-week course where students manage their own quick-start businesses throughout a semester with the guidance of a qualified entrepreneur or business professional volunteer from the community.
“So often students learn from activities that are meant to prepare them for the real world,” Kelloggsville High School teacher, Ryan Zuiderveen noted about the program. “The JA Company Program flips that model by having students move into the real world by launching their own business. And while the structure and content is great, what really makes a difference is the mentors that JA provides. So while we make a big ask of our students with running their own company, with JA’s help we are able to provide them with the tools and support they need to succeed.”
Students had the opportunity to promote their businesses during “The Pitch” in which students used video presentations to share with the judges their motivations for creating the business, sales to date, and their strategic process behind their business plan. Products were displayed during each video presentation. Judges had the opportunity to view each presentation ahead of the event awards ceremony. Awards were presented in a live virtual ceremony.
“It brought out the entrepreneurial spirit, and creativity in a lot of people, and it provided a once in a lifetime business experience that any sales, business or marketing class would be lucky to receive,” Greenville Senior High School student Emily Rutherford said of the JA Program and the event.
Junior Achievement’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy by providing work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs to K-12 students. If you would like to support Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes either financially or by volunteering, please call (616) 575-9080.