The Next Big Thing

Over 150 students from various local high schools recently presented their companies at Junior Achievement of San Diego County’s The Next Big Thing: Entrepreneurs Showcase event. Part of Junior Achievement (JA), the JA Company Program allows students the opportunity to spend 13 weeks in the classroom with a teacher and business volunteer to learn how to start and manage their own businesses. By organizing and operating a business, students learn financial responsibility, workforce readiness skills, and entrepreneurship. The business volunteer serves as a mentor for the students, helping them research and decide on a product or service, market it to their classmates, families, and neighbors, and carry the responsibility of managing company finances.

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At The Next Big Thing event, a panel of judges reviewed the companies’ business plans and also judged the students on the ingenuity, marketing, and finances of their business. The top three winners will get a chance to compete at the North American competition in Washington, D.C. Local Westview High School students Skyler Shibuya, Jason Henares, Jacob Chazen, and Juan Misas presented their company, Slides, which helps people learn how to play the guitar. Senior Education Manager at JA of San Diego County Tanya Johnson said, “This year’s landscape was incredibly diverse, spanning everything from custom grip tape for skateboards to a portable wind turbine mounted on the roof of your car that will harness wind energy to charge a battery, to handcrafted wallets and Mason jar planters. The creativity of these teenagers is unlimited.” For more information visit www.jasandiego.org.