JA Company Program


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 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 Apri,  teen entrepreneurs compete for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place by creating and pitching the “best start-up company” to a panel of judges at Junior Achievement’s Company Program High School Competition sponsored by the OtterCares Foundation  The students are judged on ingenuity, marketing and finances.  

Congratulations to the this year's following teen teams:

1st place:  Coffishake  Canyon Crest Academy.  The student team designed and created a portable coffee-shaker that allows you to brew hot coffee or tea on the go.

2nd Place:  VestraVerbam Westview High School.  The student team created bracelets with a one word messaging that inspires and empowers young adults.

3rd Place: The Bigger Picture from Grossmont High School.  The student team created a digital app to help teens have an easier time when applying to colleges and universities.  The app includes deadlines for admissions, scholarship opportunities and a student loan calculator.

Ingenuity Award, Jabberwocky Media from San Dieguito Academy.  The CEO of the media company created a website where online visitors can share reviews of popular movies, TV shows, music and books.

Best Showcase Booth, Pasta Man Tony from San Dieguito Academy.   The high-school chefs share their love of pasta with the world by showcasing quick, easy, and fun recipes that anyone can do on their new You-Tube cooking channel. 


  • Victoria Chen, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy student and CEO of teen company, Coffishake: "This program has been a remarkable learning experience.  Our team is made up of students from 9th to 12th grade.  Normally, we would have never had a chance to interact but now we are great friends.  This program has taught us how to communicate effectively, delegate tasks and most importantly, make sure everyone on our team has a voice.  We are excited about the possibility to go to the national competition.”     
  • Daniel Alvavez, student at Grossmont High and CEO of teen company, The Bigger Picture:  “We are very proud of winning 3rd place during the Junior Achievement competition and excited about the possibility to introducing our team and winning digital app to the judges for the national competition.  The college admissions process is very challenging and stressful.  In fact, many parents hiring a college admission expert as high as a $25,000 fee to get their kids into the college.     We hope our product will elevate some of this stress and financial burden with a one-stop application students can easily access on their smart phones.”
  • Laura Bagheri, Vice President of Education Programs at Junior Achievement of San Diego County said:  “This year’s landscape is incredibly diverse for our high school companies.  Products and services include a portable coffee shaker, bracelets that empower young adults and a digital app to help you navigate through the complex college admission process. The creativity of these teens is unlimited and we are very proud of their success. We also appreciate the commitment of the teachers and volunteers, who spend 13 weeks in the classroom to help these students create and manage their companies from the ground-up. ” 
  • Ken Schmitt, president of Turning Point Executive Search and JA Company Program Mentor said: “As a JA mentor for Canyon Crest Academy over the last three years, I can tell you students are amazed when they realize that starting a business can be a reality. The JA Company program is unique because it goes beyond the textbook and classroom, providing students the opportunity to turn their ideas into real, tangible businesses that generate real money. In my opinion there is no better way for young adults to learn than by actually doing and experiencing.”.