Junior Achievement brings Entrepreneurs inside the classroom during Global Entrepreneurship Week

Junior Achievement brings Entrepreneurs inside the classroom during Global Entrepreneurship Week

Professional experts play critical role in encouraging the next generation of leaders to consider starting their own business

San Diego, CA -- As part of Entrepreneur Week (November 16-22), JA of San Diego County will put entrepreneurs into the classroom to help students better understand the challenges and benefits of starting a business.  Although state figures show that entrepreneurs in California earn $58 per hour or $121,270 per year on average, there are more small businesses failing than starting in the US, since the 2006 recession.  

The program will connect more than 150 students from Westview, Canyon Crest Academy,  Vista and San Ysidro High Schools with local business leaders as they share first-hand what inspired them to start their own companies and the challenges and rewards of being “your own boss.”

“It is important to provide young people with an opportunity to engage with entrepreneurs,” said Flora Barron, Work-Based Learning Manager at Junior Achievement of San Diego County. “For entrepreneurs in California, the job pool is currently 242,880 and climbing.  A five percent bump in the number of jobs is projected to put the figure at 241,700 by 2016.”

A recent JA USA study found young people look up to entrepreneurs such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Theranos’s Elizabeth Holmes and music impresario Jay Z but may be more risk averse than previous generations.  

“It is critical to open students’ eyes to the opportunities provided by entrepreneurship,” said Ken Schmitt, JA Board Member and President of TurningPoint Executive Search. Ken Schmitt, who spoke to students at Westview High in Poway about starting his own company went on to say, “It is a privilege to be inside the classroom and help start the conversation on how these teens can own their own economic success, in addition to the incredible fulfillment that comes from building an organization that solves everyday problems.”

“It is an honor to share my passion with the leaders of tomorrow,” said Gregg Parise, Founder and CEO of Parise, who spoke to students at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley about starting his own company, hopes to encourage students to pursue STEM related careers.  “The development of top talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is critical to America’s global leadership and we definitely need more young women to enter the computer-science field.”

Women in STEM jobs earn 33-percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men.

The program is designed to be simple for the entrepreneurs to implement, but impactful for the teens participating. For example, during a JA experience, students can learn how to create a business plan or successfully interview for a job.

If you are a San Diego entrepreneur and interested in sharing your career success with students, please contact Flora Barron at

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Kristi Zimsky

Kristi Zimsky

PR and Social Media Manager