Innovation is at the heart of everything we teach our Junior Achievement students, and we love it when schools take that message and run with it! Over the last four years, Cathedral of the Risen Christ School has partnered with JA of Lincoln and Fiserv to create the Cathedral Junior Achievement Entrepreneur Program, which makes the Junior Achievement experience last all year long. This year, Union Bank will also join the team, adding a unique financial perspective for students.
The program utilizes JA’s “It’s My Business” as a guide, giving 8th graders an opportunity to plan and implement their very own business plans. In September, teams were assigned and the business planning began. Teams do market research and develop full business plans before the Job Fair in November, where they will be able to “hire” 7th grade employees. 6th graders work as interns, attending working lunches to get a feel for the program. The businesses will officially launch with a Holiday Open House, and then have 10 weeks to operate. It all wraps up with a Pitch Night, where the 8th grade business owners will have the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a panel of experts from the community. It’s all real– students create and sell products and services, handle and manage money, and deal with all the challenges that come with running a business.
Last year, the program also added mentors from the community to work with the teams, sharing unique perspectives on what contributes to a business’s success. Student owners are also
encouraged to network with the Cathedral and Lincoln communities and expand their market outside of school.
Over the last three years of the program, $3,600 in academic scholarships have been awarded thanks to FiServ. The 8th grade business owners have donated more than $6,500.00 of their profit back to Cathedral. The 2016-17 businesses surpassed all expectations, grossing $8,903.95 and netting $4,903.65 in just 10 weeks in business!
These kinds of partnerships are what make the Junior Achievement experience truly unique and impactful. We’re so grateful to Cathedral, Fiserv, and Union Bank for the dedication to these students, and we can’t wait to see their businesses in action this year!