From Here to There: Stephanie Fitzner, JA Alumni

Stephanie Fitzner is a 4th year Bachelor of Commerce Student at Saint Mary’s University. She will graduate in September 2018 and start a full-time position at Deloitte as a Strategy and Operations Consultant. She currently sits on Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia’s Board of Directors. She was also recently one of the recipients of the Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies.

From Stephanie: 
In grade 11, I acted as President and CEO of ‘Jeanius Accessories’, a Junior Achievement company that produced phone sleeves and wallets from recycled denim. Although material costs were very low, since most of the recycled jeans were donated, our company hit a significant production problem – I was the only team member who could sew.

I returned to JA in my grade 12 year with renewed focus to run a company where all team members could contribute to the production process and personally engage with the mission and vision of the company. I reassumed my role as President, this time for the company ‘Chalkboard Chugs’, which produced white mugs with a reusable chalkboard surface. $2 from the sale of each mug was donated to the Mental Health Association of Nova Scotia to break the stigma around mental health. That year, the whole team was more engaged and motivated to contribute to the company’s success. At the end of the year, our team had demonstrated such cohesion and dedication that we walked away with the Company of the Year prize, and I was personally awarded President of the Year and Achiever of the Year.

Junior Achievement had instilled in me a confidence that by combining my academic success with fierce determination and sheer will, I could accomplish my personal and career objectives. Pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University was a natural next step; I chose to take a double-major in Finance and Economics.

After a year of purchasing expensive university textbooks and struggling to buy and sell used textbooks on Kijiji and Facebook, I joined forces with the JANS Intrapreneurship Committee to launch Let’s Book Swap (LBS). LBS was a student-owned business that allowed university students to obtain textbooks inexpensively and conveniently. 50% of profits were to be donated to JANS. To finance the start-up, I secured over $5 thousand in financing by placing 1st in the Pitch101 Competition hosted at SMU and through a loan from the CBDC. In its first year, LBS earned over $2,000 in revenue and acted as a phenomenal learning opportunity.

The challenges I ran into while running LBS are similar to those faced by many first-time entrepreneurs, such as: achieving product-market fit, growing the team, and cash burn out. Finally, once LBS burnt through all the cash I had allocated to running the business, I decided to shelf the concept for another student to tackle. Even though I consider Let’s Book Swap to be my first business ‘failure’, I’ve also walked away knowing I learned far more about entrepreneurship from running this venture than other experience to date.

In 2016, I was invited to join Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia’s Board of Directors as a representative for the growing population of Junior Achievement Alumni and current participants.

In summary, Junior Achievement’s Company Program allowed me to build the foundational skillset which contributed to my success as an entrepreneur, student, and now as a member of the workforce.

 Stephanie (Left) pictured presenting the President of the Year Award which she won in 2013-2014 to the newest recipient, Sophia Hein (Right). 

Stephanie (Left) pictured presenting the President of the Year Award which she won in 2013-2014 to the newest recipient, Sophia Hein (Right). 

NSCC, Junior Achievement partner to promote entrepreneurship

Media Release

Tuesday May 16, 2018 

NSCC, Junior Achievement partner to promote entrepreneurship

Halifax, NS – Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia (JA) have signed an MOU to explore opportunities and benefits offered through a partnership to promote entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia.

“Students and graduates must see themselves as entrepreneurial thinkers within their communities,” says Sheri Williams, manager, NSCC Entrepreneurship. “NSCC and JA can help by providing the resources and tools they need to help realize their potential.”

Through the sharing of resources and expertise, the two organizations will increase cooperation and collaboration for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem across the province to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. As stated in the One Nova Scotia report, to rebuild the province, especially in rural regions, the role of business and entrepreneurial initiative are crucial parts of education.

“Introducing kids to careers in their communities and getting them more attached to the labour market early will only benefit them and the province over time,” says Shakara Joseph.  “By transferring knowledge, sharing resources and providing support, this partnership is a great way to make those introductions.”

The first event supported by the new agreement is World of Choices, which brings students together with mentors working in related fields, industries and professions and helps clarify career and educational pathways for participants. NSCC will host the event at campuses across the province from May 8 to 24.

 May 8- Lunenburg                          May 16- Ivany
May 10- Marconi                             May 17- Truro
       May 11- Burridge                             May 24- Kingstec

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About NSCC

NSCC is committed to building Nova Scotia's economy and quality of life through education and innovation. Serving the province through a network of 13 campuses, the College offers 120 plus programs in five academic schools — Access, Business, IT & Creative Industries, Health & Human Services, and Trades & Technology — reflecting labour market needs and opportunities in Nova Scotia. NSCC's primary goal: student success. In an annual survey of its graduates, the College has found 87% are employed, most in their field of choice, with 92% of those employed living and working in Nova Scotia. 

About Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia

JA 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. For every $1 invested into JA programs, $45 is created in economic prosperity.

Contact information:

Billy Comeau
NSCC Communications Advisor

Shakara Joseph
COO,  Junior Achievement Nova Scotia

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