Four teams presented their business ideas and progress at the Junior Achievement Company of the Year Competition Sunday, and Local Promoters – a team made up of students from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, Charlotte Amalie High School, and All Saints Cathedral School, took top prize.
The team will represent the territory in the National Junior Achievement Company of the Year competition in November. The company also won the Most Innovative Idea award, the Marketing Maven award for creative marketing, and the Corporate Citizenship Award for demonstrating social responsibility with their product.
Junior Achievement Worldwide is an international organization dedicated to teaching youth about economics, the free enterprise system and entrepreneurship. The Virgin Islands chapter is chaired by John Engerman and often partners with non-profit organizations and the Department of Education directly to host presentations, programs, and competitions for high school students.
In the Company of the Year competition, teams of students had 10 to 12 weeks to establish their company, develop their business plan, make a profit for themselves and their stakeholders, produce an annual report on their expenses and profit margins, then create a 10-minute presentation to be given at the final event.
Junior Achievement V.I. collaborated directly with schools to recruit students for the competition. Several of the public schools have Junior Achievement coordinators, and for the ones that do not, Junior Achievement V.I. reached out to the business teachers for assistance.
In the case of Gifft Hill School on St. John, one teacher incorporated the competition into her lesson plan.
Once the teams were formed, Junior Achievement V.I. board members acted as volunteers and guided the teams through the process of starting and running their businesses. Initial funding for each company came from selling 75 stock certificates at two dollars each to team members and community members who supported them. The eventual profit margin for these stockholders was considered by the judges of the competition.
“They all did very well today,” Junior Achievement V.I. executive director Denelle Baptiste said. “I’m very impressed with the students. We had many seniors participate this year, and I’m familiar with the challenges that poses with all the end of the year activities they do. I’m proud of how far all of them have come.”
Baptiste took on the role of executive director in January of this year, but she has been involved with Junior Achievement V.I. since 2014 as a volunteer.
“Next year I hope we can get more students, more teams, and we can make this program as robust as possible. It’s a learning opportunity, and I want it to create more young entrepreneurs. This program sparks something in students, and I want them to be well prepared to start their own businesses sooner,” Baptiste said.
The first company to present was titled Uncharted Paradise. It was based in St. Thomas and Destiny Bedminster, a recent graduate of the Charlotte Amalie High School served as its president. The team designed and sold two T-shirt designs, one with the companies’ logo and the other depicting Queen Mary, Queen Agnes, and Queen Mathilda.
The stated mission of the company was “to display Virgin Islands pride by culturally showcasing designs on various products.” The team was accompanied by two of its volunteer guides, Sadie Clendenin and Dara Baptiste.
The next company to present was Drips N Tingz, based on St. John. The president of the company was Patrick Hendrickson, a recent graduate of the Gifft Hill School. The company focused on selling designs on T-shirts and gave customers the option of buying a shirt with their own logo on it, or they could provide their own design and have that printed on a shirt.
The team had its own booth during the 2019 St. John Festival Food Fair. Alice Krall served as a volunteer guide for the team and accompanied them at the event.
Local Promoters was the third company to present. The company was based in St. Thomas, and its president was Charlotte Amalie High School graduate Jonelle Hodge. The company started a clothing brand entitled Crtl Change to promote awareness of different issues. Each colored T-shirt they sold corresponded with a different issue to raise awareness of, or a positive change to promote: red represented calling for an end to violence, white represented the innocence of children, yellow stood for positive social interactions, and blue stood for protecting marine life.
The stated goal of the brand was, “to promote positive change within not only our local environment, but every local environment throughout the world” and it was built upon the principle of “solving global problems by working locally”. Volunteer Robyn Browne assisted the team and was present at the event.
The last company to present was Tropstickal, based out of St. Croix. The company was led by its president Breneé Soldiew, a student of the St. Croix Educational Complex, and it sold stickers depicting elements of V.I. culture such as moko jumbies and a windmill.
The designs were drawn by vice president Jason Nicholas, digitized, then sent to a company in the mainland for printing as stickers. They were sold to individuals and also in bulk to businesses on St. Croix. Volunteers Precious Laurent, Alison Parish, and Marvin Pickering assisted the team and were present.
The competition was sponsored by Viya, Discover Fund, OCWEN, and Alpine Securities USVI.