Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative
The Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative is a multi-year initiative to promote entrepreneurship and its opportunities to youth, educating and inspiring young people to embrace entrepreneurial thinking to drive innovation and strengthen our global economy. Guided by our strategic plan, the fund will support relevant programming, focused research, innovative strategies, and partnership development.
The fund will accelerate our vision of expanding entrepreneurship education and ensuring students learn global trade, risk-taking, and the role of philanthropy to create long-term sustainable solutions. Interaction between students and adults across our three-state region will build tolerance of different cultures, ideas, perspectives and attitudes experienced in a global economy.
The Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative will support the following activities:
- Developing the first-of-its-kind JA Innovation Incubator for high school students to develop their entrepreneurial interests and ideas.
- Growth of JA Company Program
- JA Entrepreneurship camps to introduce elementary and middle school students to the opportunities of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking
- JA Meda Fellows Program to develop young entrepreneurs of color, piloted in 2018 at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis
- JA LaunchU, an after-school program held in Junior Achievement’s Innovation Incubator, that equips high school students with the skills needed to launch their own small business.
- Cultivate partnerships with out-of-school organizations focused on social ventures.
Annually, at the JA North Company of the Year Competition, we recognize the students from winning team as Otto Bremer Scholars. Each student receives a $1,000 post-secondary scholarship sponsored by the Otto Bremer Trust.
In response to COVID-19 guidelines, we re-imagined the competition to go virtual. On Monday, May 11, five student-led companies from four different schools participated in the 2020 Aspiring Entrepreneur Competition, a virtual event that prepares JA Company Program students for the JA USA National Student Leadership Summit. Congratulations to the winning company, Meiyu, from Mounds View High School. Meiyu created a reusable makeup pad with dual side functionality as a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to makeup wipes.
We also recognize the Otto Bremer Student Entrepreneur of the Year, awarded to an officer of one of a JA North company. Congratulations to Arya Tanksale, the 2020 winner from Mounds View High School (Arden Hills), who received a $1,000 post-secondary scholarship.