Succeeding in the Global Economy
Students from around the U.S. and Canada are gathering in Boston this weekend for the first Junior Achievement North American Company of the Year Competition. Twenty JA student “Companies” are presenting their business enterprise before a panel of judges, vying for the highly contested title of North American Student Company of the Year. FedEx is sponsoring the JA Competition because it teaches students around the world valuable business skills, free enterprise, and how they can succeed in a global economy. FedEx is also presenting the Global Access Award to the company whose business plan best incorporates concepts related to international trade, resource management, environmental sustainability, and global market expansion.
Last summer, ambassadors from across North America traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, to observe JA student companies from 33 European nations compete to become their continent’s Company of the Year. One of the ambassadors, Danish Haider of Calgary, Alberta, is here in Boston and shared his thoughts about his experience with the JA Company Program:
“As the first competition on this continent, I am excited to be a part of the team of students from the U.S. and Canada who worked together to make this event a reality. When I was in the 10th grade, I was new to Calgary and to my high school. During club day, I heard someone talk about the JA Company Program and it sounded very interesting. Without knowing what I was getting into, I joined the Board of Directors of a JA Company. Not long after I started, though, I became one of the key salespersons for the company.
“The twelve weeks of the Company program were life-changing. JA helped me develop an entreprenurial attitude and enhanced my leadership skills. I learned how to work in a team and was inspired to consider business as a future career. The best part? Our company was awarded the Outstanding Company of the Year for our region.
“The next year, I was so inspired that I became VP of Finance and excelled. I was also honored to be chosen as one of the 20 JA Ambassadors who would travel to Stockholm to observe the European Competition, a contest that had been operating for 19 years. Our task was to gain the knowledge, experience and understanding needed to launch a competition in North America the following year.
“While in Sweden, I met with over 30 different student-run companies from 30 different countries, representing the best each country had to offer. During my stay, I not only learned about the history and culture of Sweden, but also the history and culture of the participants from the different nations. By interacting with JA members from another continent, I also gained new skills and knowledge about how to run a successful global business.
“Upon returning, I became the president of my own JA Company and used my international experience to lead one of the top companies in Southern Alberta. Our team is now in Boston along with 19 other teams to compete at the first ever JA North American Company of the Year.
“I would like to thank Junior Achievement and FedEx for the impact the Company Program and its global competitions have had on my life. Having a solid and practical understanding of business along with a commitment to community motivated me to start my own company. In fact, my colleagues and I are working to start our own business this summer. My motivation and support from all the people around me made me a better and stronger person to succeed in the global economy.”