Every March I participate in a full day event that gives me hope for the world. This event is where I get to meet the top high school students in the Junior Achievement Company Program.
Over the 18 weeks before the event, these high school students from across the province have formed a company, sold shares, developed a product/service, selected a management team, wrote a business plan, executed the plan, marketed and sold their product/service, wound up the company and paid out their shareholders – and learned an awful lot along the way.
The interviews I participated in this past March highlight just how much these teenagers have learned about business, how the different parts and functions of an organization work together and more about what they are capable of. And they give me hope for the future generation.
The three pillars of Junior Achievement are Financial Literacy, Workplace Readiness and Entrepreneurship. The Company program in conjunction with Our Business World (Grade 6), Dollars with Sense (Grades 7& 8) and Economics for Success (Grade 9) are the programs that over 1,100 volunteers in Nova Scotia deliver every year to 14,300 students.
The release of the Ivany Report, “Now or Never”, highlights the importance of these programs even more, especially with regards to promoting Entrepreneurship - “If we are to grow more businesses, and have them be more successful, Nova Scotia needs more entrepreneurs. More young people need to come out of their education and training programs not just looking for a job, but with the knowledge and skills and confidence to create jobs for themselves and others.”
Currently Junior Achievement programs are offered in 50% of schools. They cost money, require volunteers to deliver and need teacher/school approval to be implemented. The results are undeniable. A Boston Consulting Group Study from 2011 found that achievers are 25% less likely to be unemployed and 50% more likely to open their own business. Seems like a match to me while being a worthwhile investment for individuals, corporations and government. Let’s bring more hope to the future of Nova Scotia.
Wendy Brookhouse is the President of Black Star Wealth Partners, a financial wellness firm and the creators of the Unique 4 Step Cash Flow Freedom Plan. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board for Junior Achievement. You can follow her @WendyBrookhouse and @BlackstarHFX