From Here to There: JA Nova Scotia Alumni, Brandon Moak

Brandon and his JA Company, 'Everybody Dyes'.

Brandon and his JA Company, 'Everybody Dyes'.

Brandon Moak, CTO and Co-Founder of the self-driving truck company Embark Trucking, credits the start of his business knowledge to Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia. In 2012-2013, Brandon was in his grade 12 year at Millwood High School, where he first heard about Junior Achievement.

“I was interested because it was an opportunity to learn by application and a more hands on approach,”, says Brandon. He was thrilled to take part in JA’s Company Program, a student venture that inspires high school students to understand the role of business in our society by creating an enterprise of their own.

Brandon Moak and his father, Peter Moak

Brandon Moak and his father, Peter Moak

“Brandon realized if he just applied himself to something, he could be successful in whatever he wanted to do,”, says Brandon’s father - Peter Moak. “This was an awakening moment for him, and I was very proud of him.”.

Within a few weeks of the program, it was decided amongst his peers that Brandon would be selected as the President of their JA Company ‘Everybody Dyes’, a t-shirt tie-dying company.

Brandon credits JA with giving him the building blocks of running a business operation. “It was ‘us’ the students running the company, the advisors gave advice, but at the end of the day it was the students making the big decisions. This gave me major exposure to business fundamentals at a very early age”, says Brandon.

Brandon’s JA company continued throughout the program winning the annual Regional Pitch It Competition, comparable to CBC’s hit tv show Dragon’s Den, where companies pitch their business ideas to a panel of entrepreneurial judges. It was during the Pitch It Competition that Peter realized just how far Brandon had come in participating in Company Program. “It is much different when you present to a classroom for a school project than to a panel of judges about your company idea. It not only improves your public speaking skills, but it drives you to learn how to present in a mature and professional manner”, says Peter.

Brandon1.jpg

Since then, Brandon applied to the University of Waterloo in Mechatronics Engineering and quickly moved into their Velocity Program for Entrepreneurs which offers valuable experience and opportunities to an entrepreneur’s business idea. As part of this journey, Brandon and his team were successful in their application to Y Combinator in Silicon Valley. Y Combinator provides seed funding for startups where Brandon’s company successfully raised $2.2 million towards their company, Embark Trucking. They went on to raise $15 million a short time afterwards, the full story can be found here: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/embark-3

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“Learning from JA provided Brandon with the basics and understanding of how to run his own business. This made it easier for Brandon the second time around with Embark Trucking, because he has already operated a business through JA!”, says Peter.

Currently, this twenty-employee company is working to create self-driving trucks a reality. While most of the self-driving companies have been passenger vehicles, Embark Trucking is developing a software that will serve as a commercial truck’s central cortex which will in turn create safer roads on “long haul” stretches. 

“I’m doing similar tasks that I did in JA, just now on a huge scale!” says Brandon.

To learn more about JA Nova Scotia, or if you are an alumni yourself and want to share your story, please contact, Emma Eagles at 902-233-9688 or eeagles@janovascotia.ca

Press Release

JA Nova Scotia reaches 50% of programming target for this school year by mid December

Nova Scotia, December 12, 2017: JA Nova Scotia is experiencing an unprecedented level of interest in programs this school year. Programs target ages 3 to 25 and focus on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workplace readiness. JA Nova Scotia’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in the global economy and JA relies on individual donors, community investors and volunteers to achieve outcomes.

“We have a suite of 16 programs and though many programs receive some targeted support, several schools are being waitlisted until we can open up the staff capacity and generate the financial and volunteer support needed to proceed” said President and CEO Kristin Williams. Williams continued by saying, “this is the first year we have waitlisted programs and it is also the first year where 50% of our programming goal will be reached by the holiday school break.” JA also increased the total number of programs this year due to growing interest and set out to deliver 750 programs instead of 600, representing a potential reach of 18,000 students. So far, JA has reached over 7,000 students of which 5,000 students experienced a JA program during Financial Literacy Month in November. In fact, JA Nova Scotia is the fastest growing charter in Canada and represented 21% of the total program delivery nationally for November’s big program push, finishing ahead of Ontario and BC, but just behind Alberta.

“We are looking to our partners and friends to support JA over the holiday season or in the New Year, so that we can continue to meet the demand and provide vital programs that will help build workforce capacity, leadership potential and a strong entrepreneurial culture in Nova Scotia”, added Williams. JA Nova Scotia accepts online donations via its website at www.janovascotia.ca.  Individuals and companies can also inquire about volunteer opportunities to help deliver JA programs in the classroom and in community settings around the province.

JA Nova Scotia is launching several new programs this year, including World of Choices, which is a career exploration event. The program fuses mentorship with a broader labour attachment strategy by showcasing trends and opportunities within Nova Scotia’s labour market. JA is also piloting a new Adulting program, which is targeted to youth 18-25 and helps young adults transition to independent living with modules in workplace readiness and financial literacy. To learn more or get involved, contact JA Nova Scotia at 902-454-4564 or go online www.janovascotia.ca.

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Media Contact
Emma Eagles
902-233-9688
eeagles@janovascotia.ca

About JA Nova Scotia
Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia provides hands-on experiential learning in the classroom and through extra-curricular activities. Programs focus on three educational pillars: financial literacy, workplace readiness and entrepreneurship. JA recruits volunteers from the business community to collaborate on the delivery of programs, which exposes students to real world business perspectives and ideas.

 


Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia  |  1550 Bedford Highway, Suite 300
Bedford  |   NS  | B4A 1E6
T. 902.454.4564  |  F. 902.454.4514  |  info@janovascotia.ca