Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
Junior Achievers earn Canadian trip after successfully operating small businesses
HAVING SUCCESSFULLY operated companies in their schools and communities for six months, five of the country's brightest teenagers yesterday jetted off to Canada, where they will be further exposed to the rudiments of entrepreneurship.
The students, who participated in a Junior Achievement Programme, will be further exposed to the art and craft of business on this trip.
One of the participants, Stephan Smith, who recently graduated from Ardenne High School, is full of expectation, having been part of a team which successful ran Creating Accessories Naturally (CAN).
He told The Sunday Gleaner that his team made good cash from picking up trash and turning them into fashion.
"We made jewellery, mostly for females, out of cans," said Smith.
According to Smith, the decision to make jewellery from trash came after much market research.
"We went around and did a market research asking the students what product they would be interested in. Most of the students who participated said they wanted jewellery.
"We thought, what can we do to make this jewellery innovative? Surfing the Internet, we saw where bracelets were made out of cans," said Smith.
He added: "We all decided this was a good idea. Why not start a recycling project with a twist to it?
"We went around and we collected the different types of cans. For example, on our fun day, we collected a whole heap of soda cans, like three garbage bags full of soda cans. We cleaned them, filed them down, and we used the soda cans to make different kinds of earrings. Milk cans and other firmer cans we used to make bracelets."
As dictated by the rules of the Junior Achievement Programme, the five students involved in CAP had to sell shares to raise start-up capital.
The company raised $14,600 in start-up capital and at the end of six months when the business was liquidated, it recorded gross profit of $29,650.
With the business turning out to be a successful venture, Smith believes the participants in the programme have benefited tremendously from the opportunity to make themselves into entrepreneurs.
He also believes that programmes such as Junior Achievement could be instrumental in building Jamaica's productive sector.
"Jamaica has a lot of resources, it is just for us to find the ways and different means; how to market it, and how to present it in such a way that it can compete in the global market place," said Smith.
Paul McFarlane, the marketing manager for Junior Achievement sought to underscore the importance of the entrepreneurship programme.
"It is not only for them to make money but also for them to learn skills in entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness," said McFarlane.
Wilfred Johnson, manager of Junior Achievement in western Jamaica, said the students who have jetted off to Canada were selected from a number of schools islandwide.
"We expect that the country will be more business minded once they get there. The forums or conferences are where they invite business leaders from around the world. They will have some good keynote speakers coming in to speak to the students about how to actually run their business and make it even more successful.
"The students will get exposure meeting business leaders overall and they can bring that back to Jamaica to share with their peers," said Johnson.
The students will return to the island on August 18 .