Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

JA Worldwide | 100 Lives | Steven Wang | Rhodes Scholar

To commemorate JA’s 100th year in 2019, JA Worldwide is launching 100 Lives, profiles of JA alumni who are making a difference across the globe. Watch their inspiring journeys.


At 17, Steven Wang of Toronto, Canada, used his experience with JA to found Community Action by Youth, which empowered young people to address poverty and climate change. He served as a youth delegate to the United Nations and started a sustainable micro-finance project in Kenya. Today, he’s a Rhodes Scholar at Lincoln College in Oxford, England, earning a master’s in international relations.

“Junior Achievement was one of those first turning points,” Steven says, “where I realized there are ways to grow as a person and a leader.”

“I’m tremendously grateful [for JA,] and who knows where I would be today, if it weren’t for JA.”

JA Worldwide | 100 Lives | Mostafa Hemdan | RecycloBekia

To commemorate JA’s 100th year in 2019, JA Worldwide is launching 100 Lives, profiles of JA alumni who are making a difference across the globe. Watch their inspiring journeys.


Mostafa Hemdan participated in JA Worldwide/INJAZ Egypt’s Startup Program for college students and quickly saw a niche in the electronics waste-management field. This green industry refines the precious metals found in old smartphones, tablets, and laptops, and also gets rid of the hazardous materials in those electronics. For this business idea, Mostafa and his team won the INJAZ Egypt Startup Competition and the FedEx Access Award.

Now the CEO of RecycloBekia, Mostafa employees 10 full-time and 6 part-time employees, processing 30 tons of electronics each month, with huge growth plans.

“I am Mostafa Hemdan,” he says. “I am the CEO of RecycloBekia. I am JA.”

JA Worldwide | 100 Lives | Donna Shalala | University of Miami

To commemorate JA’s 100th year in 2019, JA Worldwide is launching 100 Lives, profiles of JA alumni who are making a difference across the globe. Watch their inspiring journeys.


Donna Shalala, President of the University of Miami and former Secretary of Health & Human Services, has raised a mid-size university in South Florida to one of the best in the United States. “In many ways, ” she says, “universities are small businesses.” And it was JA that gave her that business experience.

“I’m Donna Shalala. I am JA!”

Media Marvels: London entrepreneurs turn high school passions into profits

As young entrepreneurs, David Aideyan, Ayush Vaidya and Nick Lavery of London, Ontario march to their own beat.

For Aideyan and Vaidya, both 20, that’s their business. They own Everest Media Group, which markets media services and a catalogue of rap, hip hop and R&B beats to musicians. As teenagers, Vaidya produced instrumentals and Aideyan rapped over them for fun. Eventually their high school passion evolved into a money-making venture.
David Aideyan

In high school, Lavery was into a different medium – videos. He shot everything from family road trips to basketball games. His friends thought they were good, and word spread. Some athletes in his high school asked Lavery to make videos of them in action. Based on that, Lavery received an Ontario government grant for summer companies for his business idea to produce highlight reels of high school football and basketball players. These athletes ultimately used them to draw interest from university teams. (Pictured: David Aideyan)

Once in university himself, Lavery, 22, transformed the business from sports videos to corporate videos. His company, Take5 Digital, has produced videos for clients ranging from the London Knights junior hockey team to a local law firm.

The three entrepreneurs have something in common beyond their youth, creativity and media-focused businesses. They are JA London and District alumni who participated in Company Program. All three credit the program with providing the foundation – the skills, experience and encouragement – for business success.

“I gained the confidence that business is a viable career option,” says Lavery.

Finding the rhythm of business
After high school, Vaidya took two years of medical sciences in university, while Aideyan studied economics. Now both attend the Ivey Business School at Western University, and pay much of their way with the revenue from Everest.

They manage 10 producers who’ve made beats available for Everest to license to some 1,500 clients. In addition, Everest provides services from graphic and web design to music production, to fully support musicians in building a professional image.

Ayush Vaidya

 “We handle the business, so people can focus on making their music,” says Vaidya.

Before Everest, their formative business experience was JA. One lesson stood out: Build on your uniqueness. “You have to identify what’s really valuable,” says Aideyan. He also learned from handling different personalities. “When you have diversity in your business, you come up with ideas you wouldn’t otherwise. JA helped us with that,” he says. (Pictured: Ayush Vaidya)

Vaidya credits his JA company (selling “memory” trees for a park) with teaching him about knowing where to target customers (a London farmer’s market). “Now, we tailor our marketing to Instagram and a site called SoundClick, to focus on a few platforms and be the best at those streams for selling instrumentals,” says Vaidya.

Business dreams become a realityNick Lavery(Nick Lavery)

Like the Everest partners, Lavery credits JA for making his business dreams feel achievable. “A lot of my friends probably wouldn’t consider what I’m doing, having a business now as a source of income,” says Lavery. “JA was quite an influence in making this decision.”

At King’s University College in London, where he studied business, Lavery earned an assignment shooting video for the Western football team. One job led to another – filming training camp and games for the London Beefeaters Football Club, documenting a season of Guelph Gryphons football, and shooting a 50th anniversary video for the Knights.

And it continued when a Knights sponsor had Lavery shoot promos to play on the video board during games. His corporate portfolio now includes videos for U. S. Steel Canada, the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board, a health club, and a London restaurant.

Lavery took a break from university this past year to grow his business. He’s now figuring out how to juggle work and ongoing studies.

Bev Robinson, President of JA London and District, says Achievers carry key lessons from JA into their post-secondary lives. Besides the fundamental entrepreneurial and interpersonal skills, JA gives them the chance to fail in a low-risk environment, learning more about business and resilience.

In an ultra-competitive work world, JA students get the early opportunity to walk into a room and present ideas, lead a real company, brand something, and make a case. “Power,” says Robinson, “is the ability to sell yourself confidently.”

Lavery agrees. “Reading a textbook only gets you so far. You have to go out there and do it, and have the opportunity to put the skills into action.”

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JA Worldwide | 100 Lives | Alexander Kanshin | Megapir Corporation

To commemorate JA’s 100th year in 2019, JA Worldwide is launching 100 Lives, profiles of JA alumni who are making a difference across the globe. Watch their inspiring journeys.


After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia made the difficult transition to a market economy. That same year, JA opened its first location in Russia and began training students in entrepreneurship, workforce readiness, and financial literacy. Alexander Kanshin was one of those students, and he helped build the Russian economy, where small- and medium-sized businesses now make up nearly 95% of the businesses in Russia. He’s the general director of Megapir Corporation, a commercial real estate firm that builds trade centers all over Moscow. “JA is a bridge from childhood to real business,” he says. A successful one, too: JA Russia is now the second-largest participating JA country in the world, with well over 1 million students per year.

“My name is Alexander Kansin. I am JA. I am very proud of it!”

Volunteering at the Canadian Business Hall of Fame Gala

CBHF 2016_282(JA Central Ontario Achiever, Andre Severin, speaks on stage at the Canadian Business Hall of Fame Gala Dinner)

I had a phenomenal experience at the Canadian Business Hall of Fame Gala.  My group of volunteers and I met top leaders in the business world – it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  We had an amazing time volunteering, and were fortunate enough to enjoy dinner among such important people.

Hearing the stories of this year’s inductees to the Business Hall of Fame was very inspiring.  They have accomplished many things being leaders of their respective companies.  Listening to Frank Hasenfratz’s experience, immigrating to Canada from Hungary, and then creating a substantial company from a small shop, was a story of true entrepreneurship.   Continuing his legacy, Linda Hasenfratz grew Linamar into a billion dollar company under her leadership.  It was incredible to hear what she has done during her time leading the company.  We also heard the remarkable stories of former CEOs, Gord Nixon and Ed Clark, who ran two of Canada’s top banks.  Gord Nixon was the CEO of RBC for over 10 years, growing the bank and increasing its profits.  Ed Clark, the former CEO of TD Bank Group, brought his customer first mentality to the bank, guiding it to multiple awards for outstanding customer service.  Hearing both of their experiences running multi-billion dollar banks was nothing short of extraordinary.  The final inductee, Rick George, grew Suncor Energy from $1 billion to $50 billion under his leadership as CEO.  It was astounding to hear how he grew the company to Canada’s largest public energy company.  All five inductees were an inspiration to all of us volunteers as we heard everything they did to get to this point.  After hearing their stories, I want to work harder to achieve such success.

EDITED CROP(JA volunteers at the Canadian Business Hall of Fame Gala)

In addition to hearing the inductees’ stories, I was able to meet top leaders in the business world, while volunteering at the Gala.  We assisted guests by directing them to their tables, and also had the privilege of speaking with them.  A highlight of my experience was certainly introducing Frank Hasenfratz to all the guests at the start of the night.  At the event, I was also able to meet other amazing achievers, and made great friends.  We enjoyed each other’s company throughout the entire day, and I look forward to the next time I see them.  I am thankful to JA Canada for the opportunity to volunteer at the Gala and to meet such successful business leaders.

Andre Severin
Achiever, JA Central Ontario

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JA Award Winners Reflect Back on the Canadian Business Hall of Fame Gala

CBHF 2016_114(Left to Right: Jordan Williams, Tiffany Hou, Mairi McKinnon, Nataleigh Ballantyne, Maude Keyser, Taylor Manning, Liat Fainman-Adelman)

Each year, JA Canada recognizes top students from across the country with our National Awards and Scholarship program. With over 350 student applications, it is quite the task to narrow down and select the top qualified candidates!

Winning our prestigious awards can come with the amazing opportunity of attending and speaking at the Canadian Business Hall of Fame Gala dinner. This year, we welcomed six students from across the country to Toronto, ON for a few days and an exceptional experience in the city. These students were the winners of the Deloitte Inspiration Awards, Peter Mansbridge Positive Change and Youth Leadership Awards.

Their adventure included watching a Toronto Raptors playoff game at Jurassic Park and taking in the sights from the top of the CN Tower. Thanks to our partners at Deloitte, our students also were able to participate in a hands on workshop to better prepare them for their speeches on stage in front of 1,000 top business executives at the gala dinner.

Student award pic 1

All six winners knocked their speeches out of the park and were a highlight of the night for all attendees!

Three of our awards winners describe their experiences below:

Being in Toronto was quite the experience, despite residing in the North Toronto area. The three day trip was a unique one that was befitting for a celebrity. Our itinerary was jam packed with things like public speaking workshops, hair and makeup, tours around the city and VIP after-parties. If that wasn’t enough, I was able to spend my days with some of the most accomplished Junior Achievers I have ever met. I am so thankful for this incredible experience! – Liat Fainman-Adelman, JA Central Ontario

My trip to Toronto sponsored by JA Canada and Deloitte is an experience I will never forget. I have to admit that I was bit nervous going by myself and staying with people I didn’t even know but as soon as I met the other students I felt like I had known them all my life. Everyone was so like-minded, respectful, fun and professional, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to spend time with. Our chaperon was also amazing and made all of us feel comfortable and welcomed by her fun and enthusiastic personality. Before the busy day of the gala we spent time exploring downtown Toronto; we went for dinner at an authentic Mexican restaurant, watched some of the Raptors game at Jurassic park and enjoyed the beautiful night view from the CN Tower. The night of the Gala was extraordinary; I met so many inspiring and influential business leaders along with Peter Mansbridge. I wish I could do it all over again because it was definitely a huge highlight in my life. – Taylor Manning, JA Newfoundland & Labrador.

Student award pic 2

When I was informed that I was a recipient of the Deloitte Inspiration Award, which includes a trip to Toronto to attend the Canadian Business Hall of Fame Gala, I was overjoyed. Once I arrived in Toronto and met the dedicated team of JA staff, I quickly learned that these two days would be ones that I would never forget. It was inspiring to see the amount of hard work that JA Canada puts into making the gala event a success. Also, it was amazing to see all of the support that this worthy organization receives from Canadian business executives.  My experience in Toronto with Junior Achievement was like none other. It was an incredible way to transition from a Junior Achievement company member to a Junior Achievement alumni. – Mairi McKinnon, JA Nova Scotia

We are extremely proud of all our 2016 National Award winners! Our next round of awards open in January 2017; it’s never too early to start preparing to apply!

 

Student award pic3____

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Introducing Our New Multimedia Designer

Reggie Blog Picture

Hi everyone, my name is Reggie Bamrah, and I am very excited to introduce myself as the multimedia designer here at JA Canada! It’s going to be very exciting to work on the JA brand and to be able to contribute to an organization that helps to provide Canadian youth with the skills and tools they need to succeed in an increasingly complex business environment.

I believe that the core foundation of JA, the 3 pillars: Work Readiness, Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy, are key components to achieve success. I can’t stress enough how important it is for students to learn these vital skills. I remember coming out of college and trying to navigate the intimidating new environment that I had graduated into. There is no doubt in my mind that having a strong foundation in these pillars would have made it easier for me to do this. Once I entered the working world, practical skills like money management, interviewing, and communication and critical thinking were important in landing a job and saving money. The programs offered by JA cover all these areas and more.

Coming into a non-profit organisation when I was originally from a retail background was a big change (in a good way!). I feel more in control of projects and have the ability to plan and organize my day as well as influence the strategy approach of the marketing at JA. Creating work that appeals to multiple audiences and working with the different charters across Canada will be a very interesting and exciting experience.  It feels very refreshing to be part of an amazing team whose mission statement is to “inspire youth and prepare them to succeed in a global economy”.

It’s been great meeting the team and getting more in-depth knowledge of the organisation through my series of orientation meetings with the education, youth engagement, and administration departments. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with creative people at Spongelab Interactive, who we are working with to create an interactive game to teach students about entrepreneurship and what it takes to build and run a business.

My first week at JA was a busy one: I assisted with marketing material for the Canadian Business Hall of Fame Gala and managed the setup of signs and posters at the event to establish the look and feel of the evening. I am very excited to support a number of future initiatives that are being worked on such as the Next Generation Leaders Forum (NGL) – a conference that brings together students from all over the world for a week of team building and collaboration to solve real world business challenges, and Skills Map – which will be a mobile application that allows students to learn at their own pace.

As a designer, it is my responsibility to create work that serves a purpose and helps people and the community. JA Canada’s values and core beliefs perfectly align with that goal. I have volunteered and done work for other non-profits and community initiatives and that is where I produce my strongest work. I’m excited to continue to produce great eye-catching work that helps students achieve and become the leaders of tomorrow!

Reggie Bamrah
Multimedia Designer, JA Canada

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Making Learning Fun

JA Excelerate

Nearly 60 years ago, JA Canada gave Canadian students a taste of experiential learning by introducing our Company Program. It was innovative and exciting. Today, JA Canada offers 15 programs to 250,000 students across the country and continues to bring innovative and exciting learning experiences. A key part of this is through the introduction of digital content and game-based learning, as well as through the gamification of our online content. This approach was validated by a Boston Consultancy Group (BCG) study completed in February of 2015, which recommended among other things that JA “emphasize ‘blended’ learning with technology serving as the catalyst of the vision”. By incorporating this validated approach, JA is applying educational methods deeply rooted in a strong foundation of research, best practices, and modern trends.

As part of the first phase of our JA Excelerate initiative, we’ve added digital elements to three of our most popular programs including Economics for Success, Dollars with Sense, and Our Business World, with digital elements soon to be integrated into the refreshed A Business of Our Own. The program enhancements started out as digital slideshows, and have quickly evolved to videos and interactive HTML activities. The reasoning is simple: Today’s students have grown up in the digital space. Rather than asking them to go back to the pen-and-paper age, JA Canada is going to where they already are. Feedback from teachers and volunteers around these initiatives has been very positive, particularly in regards to student interest in the programs.

Great content is important, but great content doesn’t guarantee engagement. And while school has external motivators such as mandatory attendance and grades, we need to give students reasons to engage with our content for their own benefit. That’s where gamification – the concept of inserting elements of gameplay into non-game situations – helps out. For instance, granting “experience points” for engaging with content, giving rewards for accumulating points, and offering clever designations or titles are concepts from the gaming world that serve to motivate users to use platforms frequently and build a merit-based community. It is an emerging practice in education, and has shown promising results in terms of learner engagement.

These two concepts, game-based learning and gamification, will ensure that JA continues to deliver engaging and impactful programs in the future.

Andre Gallant
National Program Manager, JA Canada
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It’s Almost Here: The 2016 Canadian Business Hall of Fame Gala Dinner & Induction Ceremony

CBHF 2016 Class of Companionsv3 Linda Hasenfratz, Gordon M. Nixon, W. Edmund Clark, Frank Hasenfratz.
Not pictured: Rick George.

To say it’s hectic at the JA Canada head office these days would be an understatement. The 38th annual Canadian Business Hall of Fame (CBHF) Gala Dinner & Induction Ceremony is on May 12th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and the JA Canada staff is in the midst of supporting the CBHF team as they put together the final details of what promises to be another memorable evening of celebration.

CBC’s chief correspondent, Peter Mansbridge, will host the evening dedicated to honouring Canada’s most outstanding business leaders for their lifetime accomplishments in business and dedicated community involvement.

This year, the CBHF is proud to salute the distinguished 2016 Class of Companions: W. Edmund Clark, Rick George, Frank Hasenfratz, Linda Hasenfratz and Gordon M. Nixon. We pay tribute to each Companion not only for their professional achievements, but also for the example they have set as role models committed to the success of future generations in this country.

Of course, what also makes this evening so special for us in particular is the opportunity to also salute some of JA Canada’s top Achievers! Each year, JA Canada rewards the leadership and contributions of aspiring young people through its numerous national scholarships and awards. Four winners of the Deloitte Inspiration Award and the winners of the Peter Mansbridge Positive Change Award & Youth Leadership Award will be recognized, and some will even have the opportunity to speak in front of top business executives in the country during the gala dinner! Maybe these young Achievers will one day be inducted into the Order of the Business Hall of Fame, too.

As you may be able to tell by now, this is one of the highlight events of the year for us, and we are very proud to be a part of it. It is an important event: proceeds from the gala will assist us with expanding leadership development opportunities, volunteer growth, and digital delivery of key youth business education initiatives that support our 3 pillars: financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. We look forward to this wonderful evening with great anticipation and hope.

Visit cbhf.ca and follow @CBHallOfFame for more information about 38th Class of Companions, gala dinner details & nominations for 2017!

Daniel Kim
Marketing Communications Assistant, JA Canada

2015 Class of Companions_webLast year’s Class of Companions of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame

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Finally, check out JA Canada’s brand NEW instagram account @JA_Canada for photos from key events and daily activities!