JA Africa launches entrepreneurship competition

Junior Achievement (JA) Africa, a non-profit organisation dedicated to building the entrepreneurship skills of the youth, has launched its Company of the Year (COY) competition to showcase the business ideas of the youth in Africa.

The competition under the entrepreneurship programme of the organisation, slated for December 5-7 this year in Accra, is on the theme, “Tech the Future by Storm.”

It is expected to be attended by 60 Senior High School youth from fourteen African countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Senegal, Gabon, Zambia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe to pitch and showcase their business ideas to the world.

Being funded by Delta Airlines, the ultimate winner would take home $1000 to implement their business idea.

Speaking at the launch in Accra on Wednesday, the Chief Executive Officer of JA Africa, Elizabeth Elango Bintliff, said Africa was not creating as many jobs as there were graduating students from schools and there was the need to equip them with entrepreneurial skills to prepare them for the world of work.

She said some graduates stayed home for more than six years before they could secure a job and thus need to be equipped with entrepreneurial skills to create their own jobs.

The JA Africa CEO said JA Africa, a non-profit organisation and a member of JA Worldwide, is dedicated to preparing Africa’s youth for the world of work, decided to initiate the COY competition.

She said the COY competition was open to a team of Senior High School students and it was meant to train young people on how to be entrepreneurs by giving them the opportunity to run a business during the course of the academic year.

Mrs Bintliff said the national COY competition was held for three Senior High Schools, namely Labone Senior High, Accra Academy and Alpha Beta School, saying Alpha Beta School emerged the winner and would thus represent Ghana in this year’s competition.

She said the participants would pitch their business idea to a panel of judges and would present their company reports, embark on stage presentation, attend board room interview and take part in a trade fair to showcase their product.

She said exposure was one challenge facing youth entrepreneurs in Africa and said the programme would help the students to gain exposure and the financial reward for the ultimate group would help them to implement their business idea.

The CEO of JA Africa said apart from the ultimate award, the teams would be awarded in innovation, entrepreneurship, team work and financial performance.

Touching on the operations of JA Africa in Ghana, Mrs Bintliff said her outfit had trained 200 students with entrepreneurship skills across the country for the past one year.

She said plans were far advance to establish a chapter of JA in every Senior High School in the country.

By Kingsley Asare


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