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The 2024 Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit

Posted in: JA Impact, Students

Every year in June, the brightest young minds in entrepreneurship gather to showcase their innovative projects and business acumen at the Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS). The 2024 summit, held recently at our Nation’s Capital, was no exception. This event, an example for budding entrepreneurs and innovators, saw high school students from across the United States come together to compete and be recognized for their outstanding achievements.

 

A Platform for Future Leaders

Junior Achievement (JA) is known for its commitment to fostering financial literacy, career readiness, and entrepreneurship among young people. The National Student Leadership Summit is a pivotal part of this mission, providing a national stage where student-run companies, formed through JA’s programs, can shine. This year, the summit took place in Washington, D.C., from June 10-13, bringing together the top 15 JA Company Program student companies, the top 10 JA Social Innovation Challenge student companies, the winning JA Titan team, and the winning JA Stock Market Challenge winner.

The JA National Student Leadership Summit celebrates the business skills, ingenuity, and innovation of JA Company Program® students aged 15-18 in the United States, showcasing their remarkable accomplishments throughout the 2023-2024 academic year. With over 10,000 U.S. students participating and creating more than 500 start-up ventures, the JA Company Program empowers young entrepreneurs to establish and operate real business enterprises, guided by dedicated volunteers from the local business community. These ambitious students devise and market products or services that address unmet consumer needs, while also seeking investors for their ventures.

The JA Social Innovation Challenge invites teams of high school students to identify a social problem and develop a creative solution. From environmental sustainability to mental health awareness, students are encouraged to think outside the box and address issues that are important to them and their communities.

Key Highlights of the JA Social Innovation Challenge:

  • Diverse Participation: Students from various educational backgrounds and regions can showcase their commitment to making a positive impact on society.
  • Real-world Problem Solving: Projects can address a wide spectrum of global challenges, demonstrating a keen understanding of societal issues.

The JA Titan Challenge is an online simulation that allows students to become CEOs of virtual companies and make critical business decisions in a competitive, dynamic marketplace. The competition is open to high school students across the country who will compete in teams to achieve the highest stock price for their company.

The JA Titan National Competition is the culmination of a series of regional competitions held throughout the year. The top-performing teams from each region will advance to the national competition, where they will compete against each other for the title of JA Titan National Champion.

The JA Stock Market Challenge is an online simulation where students are given a hypothetical $1 million to invest in the stock market. The challenge is open to high school students across the country who will compete in teams to achieve the highest return on their investment.

This fast-paced competition requires students to track their investments and strategize over the course of one hour where each minute is a new day. Students will have the opportunity to buy and sell stocks, analyze market trends, and make strategic decisions to maximize their returns.

 

The Pinnacle of Student Achievement

The National Student Leadership Summit is not just a competition; it’s a celebration of hard work, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit. The event culminated in an awards gala where the most innovative and impactful student companies were honored. These awards highlight various aspects of business excellence, including product innovation, marketing, financial performance, and overall impact.

 

Inside the NSLS 2024

The student companies underwent rigorous evaluation on various criteria. These included assessing their financial performance, evaluating the personal and professional development of individual team members, producing a compelling commercial showcasing their product or service, delivering a live presentation to a panel of esteemed business leaders, and demonstrating their company’s performance at an Entrepreneurship Expo on Capitol Hill. The expo held special significance as it was attended by Members of Congress and Congressional Staff, providing the student entrepreneurs with a remarkable opportunity to showcase their ventures at a national level.

After careful evaluation and scoring by the judges, several outstanding JA student companies received well-deserved recognition and awards at the 2024 JA National Student Leadership Summit.

 

The Winning Teams

  • JA Company of the Year: Awarded to the student businesses that most effectively demonstrated their companies’ achievements, as well as the personal development of each team member.
    • First Place – FlameGuard – JA of North Central Ohio (Canton, OH)
    • Second Place – EVO – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX)
    • Third Place – Mission Monarch – JA of North Central Ohio (Canton, OH)
  • JA Social Innovation Challenge: Awarded to the student projects that reflected diverse solutions that address real-world challenges.
    • First Place – Type-Along – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX)
    • Second Place – Locked – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX)
    • Third Place – Iskove – JA of the Space Coast (Satellite Beach, FL)
  • Delta Social Impact Award: Awarded to the student team that created a solution to address a local, national, or global social concern.
  • FedEx Global Possibilities Award: Awarded to the student company that best exhibits the principles of global connectivity.
    • SugarWare – JA of South Florida (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
  • ICE Best Financial Performance Award: Awarded to the student team that demonstrated the best financial results, including profitability, investor expectations, employee earnings, product quality, leadership, and operational efficiency.
    • SugarWare – JA of South Florida (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
  • Johnson & Johnson STEM Innovation Award: Awarded to the student team that used innovative science, technology, engineering, and math applications to create positive community impact.
  • RSM Market Makers Award: Awarded to the student team that accumulates the highest net worth by building and managing an investment portfolio during the JA Stock Market Challenge®.
    • Asset Avengers – JA of Northwestern Ohio (Toledo, OH)
  • Janus Henderson JA Titan of Business: Awarded to the student team that demonstrated the best financial decisions about production, marketing, research and development (R&D), and corporate social responsibility (CSR) for their company.
    • Synery – JA of Wisconsin (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Jim Sweeny Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence: An award for an individual who demonstrates outstanding entrepreneurial spirit.

 

2024 JA National Student Leadership Summit Final Teams

The 15 JA Company of the Year finalist teams that participated were:

 

Creations For A Cause – JA of Greater St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)

Striving to build a connection within our community and customers by bringing everyone together in support of spreading awareness for different health struggles.

View Company’s profile page

 

Crochet in a Box – JA of Central Maryland (Baltimore, MD)

Our mission statement is to encourage and nurture self-expression, one flower at a time. Our products are all crocheted items accessories, stemming from flowers and constantly evolving to meet our customers’ demands. All of our products are handmade from yarn.

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EfficiKit – JA of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)

With the distractions of today’s technology, people’s focus and productivity have reached all-time lows. In fact, people lose 2 hours daily due to distractions and spend only 11 minutes on tasks before productivity declines.

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EVO (Elkins Very Own) – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX)

Our mission is to make learning English at a young age both fun and accessible. With gamified learning, our vision is to create a lasting impact through equitable access for various individuals seeking enjoyable and educational forms of practicing English, including, but not limited to, young ESL students, the elderly facing cognitive decline, dyslexic students, as well as any child in the process of developing their English language proficiency.

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F.L.I.N Company – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX)

Our team passionately researched, wrote, designed, and illustrated the F.L.I.N., or the Financial Literacy Interactive Notebook, which features over 20 financial literacy topics. Our book is a gateway to practical knowledge through a gamified learning experience.

View the Company’s profile page

 

FlameGuard – JA of North Central Ohio (Canton, OH)

It was evident there was a need for in-home fire protection. FlameGuard’s flagship product is the fire safety kit. Our kit includes fire safety items as well as educational fire safety materials and a home planning sheet.

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InnoVision – JA of Central Upstate New York (Rochester, NY)

To provide eco-friendly, sustainable, and desirable products, while also satisfying the evolving needs of the community through meaningful innovation.

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Mission Monarch – JA of North Central Ohio (Canton, OH)

The Monarch butterfly population faces a challenge. The butterflies have found themselves on the Endangered Species List, with a staggering 99% decline in population since 1990. Mission Monarch presents a solution through our milkweed seed bombs.

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Nature’s Knitwear – JA of Greater Boston (Boston, MA)

Nature’s Knitwear empowers people to express their individuality while actively supporting the preservation of endangered species. We share the planet with many amazing species, but thousands of them are facing extinction and may not be known to the next generation.

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Power Up Games – JA of San Diego County (San Diego, CA)

Our company revolutionizes fitness by merging physical activity with the fun that playing a card game offers. Power Up Games aims to spread awareness about physical health while also making exercise fun and accommodating for people of all fitness levels.

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Relataspace – JA North (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN)

At Relataspace, we aim to combat the isolating effects of screen use by fostering authentic human connections through our innovative card game and promoting meaningful in-person interactions.

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Rise and Grind – JA of Central Maryland (Baltimore, MD)

With an extra day open, trendy slogan, and advanced business influence, Rise & Grind, a Junior Achievement Company, intends to exceed all previous years’ profit margins, marketing influence, and overall school morale.

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Scribble Sprout – JA of Northern California (San Francisco, CA)

Scribble Sprout’s aim is to provide a sustainable and innovative solution to reducing single-use items, all while promoting a sustainable future, improving mental health, giving purpose to your everyday object, and achieving zero waste.

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SugarWare – JA of South Florida (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Captivate consumers with our sustainable lifestyle brand and product line, focused on reducing carbon emissions and empowering local communities through innovative Sugarcane bio-plastic.

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Vis-a-Vis – JA of Greater Miami (Miami, FL)

This student-produced fashion show features a diverse array of curated fashion presented by 200 student designers, models, and crew members.

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The 10 JA Social Innovation Challenge finalist teams that participated were:

Bamboo Dynasty – JA of New York (New York, NY)

Through selling Bamboo Dynasty’s non-odor and sweat-absorbent products, consumers will reduce deforestation and help reduce exposure to harmful UV.

View Company’s profile pag

 

BioBlend – JA of Greater Miami (Miami, FL)

Reduce food waste and lend a helping hand to plants that need growth.

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GellyBuddies – JA of the Space Coast (Satellite Beach, FL)

Lead weights are extremely harmful and damaging to our environment, causing endangerment to species and continuous harm to our marine life. Our Gellyweight provides a safe way to fish while also benefiting our environment at the same time.

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Intellect Inc. – JA of New York (New York, NY)

Our Al-backed program meets individual student needs. By simply entering information about what you are looking for help with, specifying your preferred study style, and answering short questions, our program will generate a package with practice problems, examples, and new ideas on how to understand the materials to learn better according to how you want to learn.

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Iskove – JA of the Space Coast (Satellite Beach, FL)

We are offering a comfortable and compact way to travel on the road, charging on the go with solar power.

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Locked – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX)

Our mission is to empower students to conquer academic challenges, ensuring they control their educational journey free from procrastination’s grasp.

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Pitch – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX)

Pitch aims to provide effective, stylish, and sustainable solutions to personal safety. By offering a comprehensive approach, Pitch addresses the challenges posed by other self-defense methods such as impracticality, inaccessibility, and potential malfunctions.

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Sign Lens – JA of New York (New York, NY)

As a company, our mission is to help deaf individuals better interact with and understand the hearing.

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Type-Along – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX)

Guided by personal experiences, our team is committed to a mission of unlocking the reader in every child.

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Water Warriors – JA of Greater Miami (Miami, FL)

Water Warriors in an app, inclusive of an online game about a group of heroes who fight against water polluters. Our aim is to inspire youth to take action against the detrimental effects of ocean pollution and marine debris.

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A Glimpse into the Future

The JA National Student Leadership Summit also serves as an inspirational and educational experience for all participants. Throughout the summit, students had the opportunity to engage with industry leaders, participate in workshops, and network with peers. These experiences are invaluable, offering insights that extend beyond the classroom and into real-world business practices.

 

Recognizing Efforts Behind the Scenes

Junior Achievement USA President and CEO Jack Kosakowski praised the students for their resilience, creativity, and dedication. He emphasized the importance of these young entrepreneurs in shaping the future, stating, “The ingenuity and determination of these students give me great confidence in the future of business and innovation.”

 

Building a Community of Innovators

Events like the JA National Student Leadership Summit are crucial in building a supportive community of young entrepreneurs. They provide a platform where students can not only compete, but also learn from each other. The friendships and professional connections made during the summit often continue long after the event, fostering a collaborative spirit that is essential in today’s interconnected world.

 

Looking Forward

As the 2024 JA National Student Leadership Summit drew to a close, the focus shifted to the future. The lessons learned, the challenges overcome, and the successes celebrated all contribute to the ongoing journey of these young entrepreneurs. Junior Achievement continues to pave the way, providing resources and opportunities for the next generation of business leaders.

The 2024 Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit was a testament to the potential and promise of young innovators. It showcased the incredible talent and drive of students who are ready to take on the world, one innovative idea at a time. We can’t wait to see what these young leaders will achieve next!