JA Company Program


Judges from the PEERS Networking (left to right): Gregg Parise, Chris Rutgers, Greg Olafson and Chad Ruyle.

The JA Company Program is a hallmark of Junior Achievement (JA) dating back to 1919.  The program allows high school students to create and manage a fully functional company from the ground up.  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.  The encouragement and support offered by Peers Network and CYMER has helped these young entrepreneurs thrive.  

Judges from CYMER, Inc. review students' business plan and finances at the Next Big Thing: Entrepreneurs Showcase in May.   

 The journey begins in January as students dedicate 13 weeks in the classroom with a teacher and a JA mentor learning how to build and run a successful company.  In March, teen companies compete for outside funding from the PEERS Network Group at JA’s PitchFest.  In May, teams compete at The Next Big Thing: Entrepreneurs Showcase presented by Cymer, Inc.  The students are judged on ingenuity, marketing and finances.  

Teen entrepreneurs of MyKikback are selected as one of the top 15 JA Companies of 2016 to compete in JA national competition in D.C. 

This year, Junior Achievement (JA) of San Diego students have been selected as one of 15 finalist teams to compete at the Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS) in Washington, D.C. The students will travel to the nation’s capital for the three-day event, June 19-23, to compete with teen entrepreneurs from across the United States. The San Diego students represent San Dieguito High School Academy in Encinitas and founded MyKikback.com, an online event-planning website that simplifies the party-planning experience. The company hopes to work with clients to create a fun, relaxing party setting so their clients do not have to spend a lot of time, money and stress in the planning.


Nathan Wesley, a senior at San Dieguito High School Academy  and CEO/ President at MyKikBack.com: "We look forward to introducing our team and showcasing our entrepreneurship skills at the National Student Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. We'd like to thank Junior Achievement for providing us with the opportunity to create and manage our existing company from the ground-up. We have taken away many valuable skills such as financial responsibility, marketing techniques, strong communication, and understanding the value of business integrity."

Gabriel Bloch, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy and creator of teen company Raven Card:  “With an official launch of Raven Card in Fall 2016, the future seems bright for the purchasing power of our fellow Ravens.   Our success at JA Pitch Fest has reassured us that we have a product that can truly revolutionize our high school campus,” Gabriel is co-founder of Raven Card.   “By adding a strip on the back of student ID cards, we can give students more purchasing abilities at our high school campus.   Whether it is buying lunch at the cafeteria or purchasing a shirt at the student store, the Raven Card will allows students to make purchases with ease.”

Natalie Oakes, a junior at Westview High School and creator of teen company PartyKit: “Our company is dedicated to easing the pressure from those who dream of planning the perfect party, but worry too much over lack of time commitment and finding the best deals. By researching and comparing various local small businesses and putting them all in one easily accessible place online, we aim to help people create the special event they envision. Thank you to the Junior Achievement Program for providing us with opportunities to prove our business potential. We value the experience and will take everything we have learned about teamwork, communication, and willpower with us into our futures.”

Laura Bagheri, Vice president of Education Programs at Junior Achievement of San Diego County:  “This year’s landscape is incredibly diverse for our high school companies.  Products and services include a campus debit card, online event planning for parties, handcrafted wooden eyeglasses to a team to help you carry bags while shopping at the mall.   The creativity of these teens is unlimited and we are very proud of their success.” 

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., PEERS Network, Dealstruck, and The Hartford.

For more ways on how you can get involved, see below: 

Thank you, Sponsors!

2016 Presenting Sponsor

2016 Company Sponsors