Company Program Update for 2020-21:
The JA Company Program will be moving to a virtual format for the 2020/2021 year!
JA’s Company Program is a free after-school program for high school students that enables them to gain “real world” business experience. Your company (a group of 10-15 students) will create real products, sell to real customers, using real money.
The program runs once/week for 18 weeks in a comprehensive environment which provides a hands-on, no-risk opportunity to high-school students in grades 9-12 who are interested in exercising and learning entrepreneurial skills. These skills are supported by experienced entrepreneurs and knowledgeable mentors.
Company Program Starts the week: To be determined. Please Register below for more information.
MONDAYS : Program will be run online.
TUESDAYS: Program will be run online.
WEDNESDAYS: Program will be run online.
Apply to be a Company Program Mentor for the '20-'21 school year
High School Students
Company program was highly valuable to my personal and professional development. The opportunity to learn and fail in a safe environment taught me real world business sense that will help me with my career and give me a leg up in the modern business world.
–Raya Porter JA Alumni
In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the continued uncertainty surrounding in-person gathering limits and access to public and private/corporate spaces, JA Waterloo Region has made the decision to transition the JA Company Program to a fully virtual experience for the 2020/2021 school year. This will allow us to move forward with confidence that we can deliver a comprehensive Company Program experience without interruption or risk of cancellation.
Our goal for the JA Company Program remains unchanged: to engage high school students in an experiential learning opportunity where they can develop critical life skills and gain valuable knowledge and insight into entrepreneurship. Through the virtual JA Company Program, students will continue to have access to the success factors that have always been the foundation of the program including:
2. Experiential hands-on learning
3. Opportunity to collaborate
4. Opportunity to develop networking skills and network with the JA community
5. Company Program events
The overall structure of the JA Company Program will remain consistent to previous years with some changes to better support the virtual model:
|Company Program Elements||2020/2021 Modifications||Benefits to Students|
Meetings Online meetings only.
Meetings will be scheduled for 2 hours. Once the company is established, recommended weekly meeting times will be 1 to 1.5 hours for full team meetings plus additional time for smaller group mentoring and working sessions.
▲Greater flexibility in time commitment and scheduling.
▲Shorter full team meetings
▲Smaller group mentoring and working sessions can be scheduled throughout the week when convenient for students and mentors.
|Location||No Physical Location||
▲No need to travel or commute. Students can participate in any program without needing to travel to a physical meeting location.
Students will be required to work on a digital product/service or utlize drop shipping (see FAQ section below for more details)
▲Getting a head start in learning about digital business and entrepreneurship
▲Students will have the opportunity to develop their digital proficiency and the critical skills needed in the new 'virtual business world'.
|Timing||18 weeks from late November to April||
▲JA curriculum will remain the same so students will continue to have access to the full program this coming year.
|CP Events||Students will have access to virtual CP events throughout the year, such as Management Training, Pitch Competition/ Trade Show and celebration of Excellence Awards||
▲Access to extra workshops and events in addition to our regular CP events including a virtual orientation and new webinars.
▲More students will be able to participate in these virtual events as we will no longer be restricted to the capacity numbers of our physical event locations.
How can we register for the program? Is the registration process the same as previous years?
The registration process will remain the same with one main difference: there will be no physical locations listed for programs this year as our expectation will be that all programs run virtually. Therefore, programs will not be listed in their usual 'Location + Date/Time'; and will only be listed by their 'Date/Time'.
Registration will once again be completed online and will be first-come, first-serve. We will announce the registration opening date on social media and by email to all previous participants in advance.
Share the opportunity with your friends and sign up to a program together!
Who can register as a student?
Any student enrolled in high school in the JA South Western Ontario region will be eligible to participate in the program. JA South Western Ontario covers the following areas: London, Middlesex, Elgin, Oxford, Huron, Perth, Grey, Bruce, Chatham-Kent, Windsor-Essex, and Sarnia-Lambton.
If you are a student (or you know of a student) who previously was not able to participate in the JA Company Program because you were not able to travel to a physical program location, this year is your chance to take advantage of the virtual program!
Is the program only open to students with an interest/background in business?
JA Company Program is a well-rounded program where students from all areas of interests and skills can participate and benefit. While many of our students do come from business related classes, we have had students from a wide range of interest and areas (including arts, science, etc.) participate. We encourage students from all interests to take part as the skills you learn and the experiences you will have go far beyond the business world.
What tech requirements are needed to participate virtually? What if a student does not have access to these tech requirements?
Students will need access to a stable internet connection and laptop/tablet to be able to participate in the program as the meetings will be held virtually each week. If a student does not have access to these tech requirements, please get in touch with the JA Company Program team in advance and we will support you in finding a solution.
How will teams be formed? How many students will be in a team?
All student registrants will be randomly assigned to a team of approximately 15 students. Students may request to be in a team with one other friend at registration. While we will try to accomodate requests wherever possible, being in a team with your friend is not guaranteed. Teams are formed in this way to ensure all programs have an equitable number of students with a range of backgrounds to support the program experience and tasks/roles. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and develop your teamwork skills!
What if gathering restrictions are lifted in the New Year, will in-person meetings be allowed?
With the virtual model, students (and mentors) on any given team would be located anywhere in southwestern Ontario and it may not be feasible for regular in-person meetings to take place as not everyone will have access to the physical location.
What virtual meeting platform will teams use?
Weekly Company Program meetings will take place online via Zoom. Details with the meeting links will be communicated to all students prior to the beginning of the program. This will be a free meeting platform for all students to use.
I am uncertain and anxious about creating a virtual business as I don't have any experience and/or skills in this area. What resources will be available?
Rest assured, no special knowledge or previous experience is needed to be successful with the JA Company Program. JA will be providing additional resources to students and mentors through our resource portal and through webinars throughout the year to support the virtual Company Program. These additional resources may include webinars around brainstorming digital products, how to set up an e-commerce site, and how to attract customers online.
This is a unique opportunity for students to take on a relevant and current challenge and develop their digital proficiency skills while learning about entrepreneurship. The skills students will learn this year will be skills that will be highly sought after for many years to come and no matter what industry/sector they decide on.
What are the guidelines for selecting a product/service?
We will be providing additional guidelines to teams regarding product/service selection. Companies will need to consider that meeting in-person for production and sales will not be viable with the virtual model of Company Program.
Recommendations would be to consider products/services that can produced virtually and be sold on an ecommerce platform. Some product/service options might include:
We are excited to see what creative ideas student teams will come up with!
What are some ways to make money through a digital product or service?
There are many ways to make money through a digital product or service! Some examples include:
Selling a fee-based online service through a website or app
Selling a digital product (i.e. e-book) through a website
Selling a membership or subscription fee for an app or website
Selling ads or sponsorships for an app, website, or virtual event
Selling tickets for a virtual event
Selling a product you design using drop shipping
There are so many possibilities and opportunities; you just have to be creative and think outside the box! And you will need to do some brainstorming and research; just like with any product or service, you can only sell what people need and are willing to pay for.
What if I still have questions or need more information?
For more information, contact
Sheena Gosse at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-576-6610 x 3
For any inquiries about Company Program please contact Sheena Gosse
Chris has just finished his third year as a Company Program Mentor and is already signed up for his fourth. He is incredibly invested in this entrepreneurial program and the growth of his students. Due to a shortage of Mentors on Monday nights this year, Chris stepped up and offered to volunteer on both Monday and Tuesday nights. I was blown away by how willing he was to help even more than he already had been. This means that his volunteer hours this past school year with us are estimated at 200 hours.
Through his time at JA, Chris has flowed through various volunteer opportunities in-class and after-school. I have always appreciated his honest feedback to our programs and his long-term commitment to our JA mission. Chris brings such a fun presence to the classroom that connects directly with the students. The time he puts into preparing for his JA days goes a long way to ensure he always has a smooth program delivery. It’s great to have a volunteer that changes their volunteer role as they grow with their career, as opposed to phasing themselves out of our organization. By doing this, Chris is always challenging himself in our volunteer roles and ensuring he is always passionate about what JA program he is teaching. On top of all this, Chris is also a great role model for the youth that partake in JA programs.
Chris is a very inspiring person. Not only does he have a background in Finance which offers so much to Company Program and the various in-class programs he teaches, but he is generally a very well-rounded individual. Outside of his job and JA programs, he makes time for himself and his personal growth. He travels, plays several sports and maintains a close relationship with his family and friends, all the while committing so much time to JA for 3 years running. I don’t know how he does it, but I do know that all of these things make him a great individual and volunteer. He is positive, dedicated and each week he shows how much the students value his guidance. They trust him and they take him seriously.
Chris always offers suggestions and feedback for future activities and events and he has never missed a post-program debrief meeting. He truly cares about the success of JA as an organization, its programs, and the students involved. He is a true Mentor and leader within our community.