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7 Jamaican students head to Canada for business competition

Published:Monday | August 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The 'Next Generation Leaders' who will participate in the Junior Achievement Next Generation Leader's Forum at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. The team comprises (seated, from left) Rodianne McLeod of Charlemont High School; Sherly-Ann Thomas, marketing officer, Junior Achievement Jamaica; and Nicoya Baugh, Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf. Also present are (standing, from left) Darren Bent of Ardenne High School; Sasha Miller of Wolmer's Girls; Janice Riley of St Andrew Technical High; and Trevaune Baker of Kingston College. - Ian Allen/Staff Photographer
Kimberly Barnes, of the Lister Mair Gilby School for the Deaf, is one of the hearing-impaired students who will be attending the Junior Achievement Next Generation Leader's Forum. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer

Seven top students from seven schools in the Junior Achievement Company of Entrepreneurs (JACE) competition have successfully secured their place to the Junior Achievement Next Generation Leaders' Forum to be held at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

The young Jamaicans will be among the world's top youth leaders, taking part in competitions, exhibiting products they made, and interacting with and learning from top business leaders across the world. They are Darren Bent, Ardenne High; Rodianne McLeod, Charlemont High; Nicoya Baugh of the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf; Trevaune Baker of Kingston College; Kimberly Barnes, Lister Mair Gilby School for the Deaf; Janice Riley of St Andrew Technical High; and Sasha Miller of Wolmer's Girls' School. The students are scheduled to leave the island on August 16 and are sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Dubbed as the 'Next Generation Leaders,' Jamaica's delegates have been selected as top performers in the JACE programme based on their potential.

The competition is one element of the JACE programme, which started in October 2013. More than 40 high schools were involved, with a group of 20 to 25 students from each school forming a company.

Bent's Ardenne High company made pencil cases, umbrellas and tablet cases from synthetic polythene. He led the way as the vice-president for human resources.

McLeod of Charlemont High School, the vice-president for production at Charlemont's D-Buzz company, is excited about her trip to Canada.

"The experience will be great as I will be meeting different persons and learning about different cultures," she said. Using the rope concept, her company produced jewellery, including bracelets, belts and headbands.

Two of the students, Barnes and Baugh, are hearing-impaired. Speaking through interpreter Carol Robertson, Barnes said her teachers encouraged her to become involved in the programme to learn something new.

"They wanted us to know how to establish a business for the future. We made different types of T-shirts and we focused more on selling persons who support the hearing-impaired community. We wanted everyone to know that we are capable of being creative and implementing our own businesses," Barnes said.

While running their companies, the students were led in a curriculum based on structured entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. This taught them how to do various tasks, including writing business plans, developing products and electing leaders to serve different business functions. Of note, some companies were mentored by private-sector companies.


Throughout the last academic year, the companies ran their operations, sold their products, and submitted reports. The companies were judged at several points during the year. At an annual general meeting in November 2013, several reports were assessed at different points during the year by members of the private sector. From these, the top companies were selected.

This is the fifth consecutive year for the JACE programme and the fourth time there is an award for the Company of the Year that was won by Wolmer's Girls. Ardenne won in 2011 and 2012, while Charlemont took top honours in 2013. Other awards given included Top Finance Company, Top Human Resources Team, and Top Marketing Team.