Help Build Nova Scotia’s Future Business Leaders
What I Learned in My First Year at the Junior Achievement Company Program
By: Kai Hollett
The last five months that I have spent in the Junior Achievement Company Program has been a period of tremendous growth and learning for myself and my entire team. I have cultivated so many invaluable experiences, and become familiar with many parts of the business world. Of course, none of this would have happened without the support of Junior Achievement and my incredible advisors. Throughout my first year in Junior Achievement I have learned how to start a business, how to deal with a conflict within the company, and the hard work it takes to make a startup succeed.
Although I had dreams of entrepreneurship well before I entered the Company Program, I had no idea how to actually start my own business or any of the effort involved with it. As a child I would often set up tiny stores in my desk with my friends at school, selling each other little trinkets and crafts while the teacher was looking away. But these fantasies now seem attainable that I have a taste of the work it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Being in this highly beneficial program has guided me with clear directions on how to create a company, like getting investors, writing a business plan, and calculating finances. Previously, I would have shied away from a mention of any of these words, but I now feel confident in my abilities to complete each of these tasks with a smile on my face. I am now able to proudly create a budget (complete with a break-even analysis, revenue, profit margins, etc.), pitch to potential investors about the benefits of our product/company, and also write an exhaustive business plan. This is because of my advisors, who were a plethora of knowledge, and my peers, who helped me gain new perspectives and approaches to getting across the finish line. Similarly, Lead (a JA event) was also critical in this education, as I was able to get advice from professionals in the industry. Overall, I have been able to maintain the same imaginative mind from my childhood, with a more grounded knowledge of the world.
Along with these newfound social skills, I was able to build a vigorous work ethic and contribute to the overall learning of my entire team. I created our Pitch It 2019 video, which was one of the finalists, and was a part of our 2018 Pitch at Lead. At the same time, I devoted my energy to other aspects of running the company, by producing over half of our products, and making the second most sales within my team. The result of all of this hard work was that I clocked in over 90 hours of work and was able to contribute to and support my company.
No one has their success handed to them on a silver platter, and that's the most important lesson I learned this year. For this very reason, I was able to learn how to start a business, deal with conflict within the workforce, and the work that it takes to succeed, which makes me feel more prepared for the workforce than ever. I am extremely proud of the work that I have done this year, and I look forward to doing it all again in Grade ten.
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