Press Releases

San Diego Students to Compete at Junior Achievement’s The Next Big Thing: Entrepreneurs Showcase Competition presented by Cymer, Inc

April 30, 2015




SAN DIEGO — Twenty student companies will present their products and services at Junior Achievement of San Diego County’s The Next Big Thing: Entrepreneurs Showcase presented by Cymer, Inc. on Wednesday, May 6 at Ilumina’s headquarters in Sorrento Valley.  Competing companies will have a chance to compete nationally to be named “Student Company of the Year.” 

The Next Big Thing: Entrepreneurs Showcase is a part of Junior Achievement’s Company Program.  The JA Company Program, a hallmark of Junior Achievement (JA), dating back to 1919, lets students start and manage their own businesses. By organizing and operating an actual business enterprise, students not only experience how business functions, but also learn financial responsibility, workforce readiness skills and entrepreneurship. Under the guidance of a business volunteer, students decide on a product or service, market it to their classmates, family and neighbors, and carry the responsibility of managing company finances.

This year’s program is supporting more teams than ever before, spanning nearly 10 high schools in San Diego.  Teen companies, some of which have received outside funding from the PEERS Network Group at JA’s Quick Pitch 2015 event, spend 13 weeks in the classroom with a teacher and outside mentor.  The in-class program educates students on how to build and run a successful company.  Similar to the “real word” of adult- responsibilities, the teams have to create and sell a product/service, market it to classmates, family and neighbors, and manage company finances.

Students participating in the high-pressure event are from Canyon Crest, Clairemont, High Tech High, Hilltop,  Junipero Serra, La Jolla High, San Dieguito Academy, and Westview High Schools, and students from the JA Teen Ambassador program.  

At the event, a panel of judges will review companies’ business plans and decide on the top three winners.  Teams locally will get a chance to compete at the North American competition in Washington, D.C. this summer. The students will be judged on ingenuity, marketing and finances.

WHO: Media is invited to interview the teens, teachers, parents, sponsors and preview products at the student’s trade booths. Representatives from Cymer, Inc, Willis, TurningPoint Executive Search; Junior Achievement of San Diego staff and board members.

 WHEN: Wednesday, May 6. Judging from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Public viewing from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

WHERE: Illumina’s headquarters at 5200 Illumina Way, San Diego, CA 92122


4.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.   Judging of Teen Companies, Products, Presentations.

6.30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m.     Tradeshow showcase to the public.

8 p.m. – 8.30p.m. Awards for the most creative idea, best tradeshow booth and marketing plan.  First, second and third place winners


Alexis Habib, president and CEO of Grains of Happiness and student at High Tech High North County (HTHNC):  “I am nervous about the May event but we are one the few groups that walked away with funding so that is exciting.”  Alexis joins Joshua Lundblase and Elizabeth Murguia, also students at HTHNC.  Grains of Happiness is marketing and selling hand crafted “rice warmers.”  The product, similar to a heating pad, helps to alleviate body pain with hot or cold temperatures.  

Sklyer Shibuya, a Westview High student in 4S Ranch and a part of teen company Slides:  “Our Junior Achievement mentor is key to helping us succeed in May.  He is encouraging us to say the name of our company, multiple times on stage in front of the judges, and making sure we have a website, and social media component in our business campaign.”  Sklyer and his classmates Jason Henares, Jacob Chazen and Juan Misas, started Slides.   The company helps people learn how to play the guitar with their signature product, a variety of laminated cards that one places on the musical instrument with notes and finger positions.    

Connor Muirhead, 17-year old at High Tech High North County, is part of a company called BUST:  “I think we have a good chance to compete in May.  We are working hard to get our product in front of buyers and consumers in the next few weeks.”  Conner is part of a company called BUST, along with fellow HTHNC students, Jackson Sjogren, Oliver Hensley and Ian Courtney.  BUST walked away with $80 from the JA Quick Pitch 2015 competition. The company makes and sells customized and affordable grip-tape for skateboards featuring graphics and artwork from multiple artists.

Tanya Johnson, senior education manager at Junior Achievement of San Diego County:  “This year’s landscape is incredibly diverse spanning everything from custom grip tape for skateboards, to a portable wind turbine mounted on the roof of your car that will harness wind energy to charge a battery, to handcrafted wallets and Mason jar planters. The creativity of these teen-agers is unlimited.”

Ken Schmitt, president of Turning Point Executive Search and JA Company Program’s mentor: “I feel so privileged to support such an incredible program in the San Diego community. To be able to participate as a sponsor and mentor is incredibly fulfilling. These kids are far more confident and polished than I ever was at their age!”  This year, several other high profile companies are joining Turning Point Executive Search as team sponsors including presenting sponsor Cymer, Inc., Willis Insurance, Dealstruck, San Diego County Credit Union and The Hartford.

For more news and events at Junior Achievement of San Diego, please follow the nonprofit on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT OF SAN DIEGO, INC. works locally to impact 53,000 students in K-12 classrooms in the 2014-2015 school year. Junior Achievement’s volunteer-based programs teach kids how to get a job, start a business and how to manage money. For more information please visit


CYMER is an industry leader in developing lithography light sources, used by chipmakers worldwide to pattern advanced semiconductor chips. Cymer's light sources have been widely adopted by the world's top chipmakers and its installed base comprises approximately 3,900 systems. Continuing its legacy of leadership, Cymer is currently pioneering the industry's transition to EUV lithography, the next viable step on the technology roadmap for the creation of smaller, faster chips. The company is headquartered in San Diego, CA, has more than 1,200 employees on payroll and supports its customers from numerous offices around the globe. Cymer maintains a Web site to which it regularly posts press releases, SEC filings, and additional information about Cymer. Please visit