JA is the acronym for Junior Achievement, a program co-ordinated by the ECCB which allows high school students in Forms 3, 4 and 5 to set up and operate a business venture around a central product idea. For the entire school year, the students meet, sometimes after school, to work at specific tasks as defined by self-chosen or elected job titles within the company.
This year, the three high schools on Nevis participated in the JA Company Program.
The Gingerland High School students, under the presidency of Randicia Chapman, developed photo cards and sentimental wall plaques, while Charlestown Secondary School students led by president Kris Liburd created cushions for those office chairs that are not quite comfortable, jewelry and satin bags.
Under the leadership of Grace Patterson, CEO, the Lyn Jeffers School students developed a 2007 calendar with photos of Nevis taken by the students with inspirational quotes on each page.
While the fair is a selling opportunity, it is not a competition. The competitive aspects include Best Overall Product Idea, Best Display at the Trade Fair, Best Financial Report, and Best Business Plan. The fair is an opportunity to make final sales as the program draws to a close. The companies should have already made a significant amount of the targeted sales by the time the fair takes place.
Students gave me their thoughts after having participated this year. Of course the lesson everyone has to learn is about managing expectation, it can create joy and or disappointment. Not all of the schools did well in their sales, and others learned to adjust their strategy accordingly, realizing that they already had the product, therefore they needed to change other things. One school had its product pulled from the fair because it violated piracy and copyright laws.
Pheauncie Jones, director of marketing for Lyn Jeffers Visual Works spoke proudly of her involvement in the program.
She felt her school work and her overall organization improved. She learned that things do not always turn out as expected, and customers don’t always behave as you think they should when trying to sell them something.
And her company coworkers echoed the sentiment that business isn’t as easy as it looks!