Each year, 9,866,143 students take the initiative to step out of the confines of their classrooms and give free rein to their entrepreneurial skills.
They are all part of the 92 year old Junior Achievement Worldwide community, which shows students how to dream big, take risks, create their own wealth and effectively manage it while cultivating positive attitudes, confidence and leadership skills.
Madushi Peerera, Chapa Perera, Samurdhi Jayamaha, Chamika Maddumarachchi and Kaushini Perera can attest to this.
At the recently concluded JA Student Company of the Year, Alpha Lyrae of Musaeus College, competed with nearly a 100 student teams from the Asia Pacific region and emerged winners- successfully founding, managing and directing the Company of the Year.
Patrick Amarasinghe the president of Young Entrepreneurs Sri Lanka(YESL)- member/franchise holder of Junior Achievement Worldwide, describes the competition as one which draws on more than the financial success of the student company or the level of creativity in the product or service offering. “The participants must also demonstrate a thorough understanding of how and why the company performed as it did.”
The Company of the year Competition is JA Worldwide’s annual celebration of the strategic and entrepreneurial skills of students across Asia Pacific. Competing companies are judged on the strength of innovation and the application of new ideas in all aspects of running the company. Contestants are also judged on their focus on continuous improvement.
The triumphant winning group agrees that the intense competition had its challenges but each challenge was one that was eagerly anticipated. They also agree that “the competition is not simply a business competition for young people. The goal here is to balance the business achievements of each team as a whole with the personal development of each individual member.
“It is common to see the youth of Sri Lanka representing their country in athletics and other areas,” enthuses Mr. Amarasinghe, “but a competition between entrepreneurs is something new. And it gives these students a great deal of exposure and experience in honing their skills while turning interesting concepts into reality and making these ideas lucrative. This experience of the real world will give them the insight and the motivation needed to successfully compete in the competitive global economy.”
The competition was sponsored by FedEx. Outside Asia Pacific, FedEx also sponsors the JA Company of the Year Competition in North America, Latin American and the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.
“I am very proud of the drive and determination demonstrated by these student entrepreneurs. Their achievements are a testament to the power of Access in creating companies capable of enabling global growth, job creation, and environmental stewardship. The FedEx Access award recognizes the company that best embodies the impact of Access and is part of FedEx commitment to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said David L. Cunningham, Jr., president, FedEx Express Asia Pacific.
“We are impressed with the quality of the student companies, especially since this is the first year of the JA Company of the Year Competition in the Asia Pacific. All entrants have shown great ingenuity, creativity, teamwork and communication skills. We believe the lessons learned during the competition will help our young leaders prepare for the challenges of the business world in the future and increase their chance for success,” said Vivian Lau, Chief Executive Officer of Junior Achievement Hong Kong.