V.I. high school students participating in the Junior Achievement program competed last month to showcase their business acumen and the winners get the chance to take part this December in the Junior Achievement Regional Company of the Year competition in Mexico.
Five teams, three from the St. Thomas/St. John district and two from St. Croix, took part June 26 in the JA Company Program Territorial Competition at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef, the program announced in a news release issued Thursday.
According to the news release, students in the program work with corporate mentors and team members from schools across the area to create and run their own small business. From start-up to liquidation, these students experience every step in the entrepreneurial process, guided by business professionals volunteering their time from firms from across the territory, including Alpine Securities, Scotiabank, Innovative, International Capital Management and the V.I. government.
"The competition was intense as the event featured two hours of business plans and rigorous questioning by the judges," according to the statement issued by JA Executive Director Albert Bryan Jr.
This winner of this year’s competition were the members of team H.E.L.L.O. – or “Helping Everyone Live Life Onward” – coached by Innovative employee volunteers Kali Richardson and Armecia Martin. The team created a company that used recycled bottles and coconuts to make products including candle holders and jewelry. Ki’Andre Thomas, the group’s chief executive officer, noted that they had quite a few management shakeups but their teamwork and perseverance ultimately lead them to success.
In December’s regional contest, H.E.L.L.O. will compete against teams from more than 15 different countries and 20 competitors from the Caribbean, Canada as well Central and South America.