On March 3, 2017 JA of Western MA held its 3rd annual JA EnTEENpreneur Challenge hosted by the UMASS Springfield Center. Over 20 teams of future entrepreneurs will compete in a 2-minute Pitch Contest and Trade Fair Competition. Students from Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, Chestnut South Middle School, Duggan School, Chicopee High, and Pathfinder Vocational as well as two JA Afterschool programs competed. The students were part of the JA Blended Company Program, which is designed to unlock the innate ability in students to solve a problem or fill a need in their community through an entrepreneurial spirit. The JA Company Programs are sponsored by The Hartford and their JA Company Program Communities with Hart Incentive Grant.
The middle grade students completed JA It’s My Business and participated in the Trade Fair as well as the Pitch Contest.
Teams competed for cash prizes, trophies and medals. First prize is $500, second prize is $350 and third prize is $250.
- Jessica Goodrich
- Jeremy Belanger
- Julio Colon
- Justen Otero
- Mel’quan O’Neal
Cassidy Snopek of Chicopee high School won for Waterwick , a waterproof line of sports clothing.
Pacer Popcorn Pizza Co. from Chicopee High School won third place. That team is made up of Ansel Kufta and Evan Garber.
Tiger Dreams clothing from Putnam was the most innovative, according to judges.
Raise the Pooch Foundation of Pathfinder Vocational won Best Trade Fair Boot.
Thomas LaMondia, Retail and Finance teacher at Putnam Vocational said, “My students were so excited to participate in this event. I have some budding entrepreneurs who are ready to take their product ideas to the next step. As a teacher I am thrilled to see them so enthusiastic and engaged in this learning experience.” Middle Grades JA It’s My Business Competition winners were:
- First Place- I A (Identification Animal) Chestnut South Middle School
- Second Place -Architects of Spirit – Duggan Academy
- Third Place- Pillow Heels- Chestnut South Middle School