For Immediate Release: March 21, 2016

For More Information, Contact:
Jennifer A. Connolly
Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts
(413) 747-7670
jconnolly@jawm.org
Twitter: @JA_WesternMA

JA’s 2nd Annual EnTEENpreneur Challenge at UMASS Center Springfield

Springfield, MA—Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts held its 2nd annual JA EnTEENpreneur Challenge hosted by the UMASS Springfield Center in March with eighteen (18) teams of future entrepreneurs showcasing their products in a 90 second Pitch Contest and Trade Fair Competition.

Students from Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, Chestnut South School, Duggan School, Chicopee High, and Northampton High as well as a JA Afterschool program took part in the event. The students are part of the growing JA 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. Student participation in the JA Company Program has grown 125% through the generosity of The Hartford and their JA Company Program Communities with Hart Incentive Grant.

The event was sponsored by local businesses and colleges. Smith & Wesson was the Title Sponsor and Savage Arms was the Trade Fair Sponsor. Elms College’s new Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership sponsored an Elevator Pitch Camp at the college on Feb. 12 for all the students. Papa John’s donated the lunch and Panera in Chicopee donated dessert. Other sponsors included Chicopee Savings Bank Foundation, Country Bank, Paragus Strategic IT, Easthampton Savings Bank, Adam Quenneville, STCC, Arbor Kids, and Get Set Marketing.

Pen Man Ink, a team from Northampton High School took first place in the pitch competition and received $500. Nature Décor from Chicopee High School took second place, receiving $350 and Nature Valley Skin Care from Northampton High School took third place and received $250.  Little Surprise Gifts from Putnam Vocational Technical Academy won Best Trade Fair Booth and Charge Pro from Chestnut South won Most Innovative Product.

“At Smith & Wesson we applaud Junior Achievement and their efforts to encourage students to embrace economic education and financial literacy.  Smith & Wesson is proud to support the EnTEENpreneur challenge. This year’s students showed passion and enthusiasm while presenting their products to their peers and community businesses. All of the participants should be proud of their accomplishments.” Anne Bruce Vice President of Human Resources

“It was an honor for us to be a part of these young entrepreneur dreams from the very beginning! It’s so exciting to see young people working towards a goal knowing that they are putting their destiny in their own hands. It was great to meet all of them.” Tracey Noonan, co-founder of Wicked Good Cupcakes.

Toriel McPherson, part of the CHS Entrepreneurs, who fashioned ear bud holders from used mint cases, said “Some of the products were so good I bought items from the other teams!”

Meridith Salois, Senior Credit Analyst, for Easthampton Savings Bank, one of the seven ESB volunteers who worked with the Northampton High students in preparation for the JA EnTEENpreneur Challenge noted, “I had the benefit of participating in Junior Achievement when I was in school, and it definitely helped guide me in choices I made for college and my career. It is great to be able to give back to Junior Achievement by volunteering for the various programs they offer in the local schools and sharing my personal experiences.”

“It has been rewarding as an educator to see growth, passion for learning, and tangible results from my students.  Special thanks to Easthampton Savings Bank for providing invaluable support.” Randy Gordon, Financial Literacy Teacher, Northampton High School

For more information about Junior Achievement contact Jennifer Connolly at (413) 747-7670 or email jconnolly@jawm.org

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