Golden Secondary School students Sophie Kielty (left) and Jasreet Kaur (right) earned about competitive advantage and how to run her own business through the program. Photo submitted

‘Be Entrepreneurial’ program sparks local students’ creative business spirit

Golden Secondary School students were able to flex their creative side with the recent completion of the ‘Be Entrepreneurial’ program, which is facilitated by Junior Achievement of BC (JABC).

The program, which comprises of four one-hour long sessions, allows students to build up a foundation of knowledge on what it takes to become an entrepreneur and how to run your own business. It brings in real business owners from the community to mentor students from grades four through 12, and helps them take their business ideas from prospect to reality.

Students learn the essential components of launching a realistic entrepreneurial venture by developing a plan and pitching an idea for their own business. Students are eligible for JABC and JA Canada awards and scholarships through the program.

“The key outcomes of the program is just to get kids thinking and inspired,” said Alanna Tynan, the regional program manager for JABC. “We want to get them empowered by thinking about where and how they might start a business.”

According to Tynan, it isn’t uncommon for students to take the idea that they develop in the program and bring it to life a few years down the road.

“It’s planting a seed, and the seed can stay planted until they get a little older,” said Tynan. “It can be a really powerful catalyst to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey if that’s what they end up pursuing.”

The program focuses on creating a solid foundation of knowledge to allow students to succeed. Topics such as competitive advantage and target markets are introduced throughout the four week course.

Each week covers a new topic, giving the students time to really digest the information, before moving on to the next week.

“The program gave our class an in depth idea of what owning a business entails,” said Golden Secondary School student Sophie Kielty, who participated in the program. “I learned about competitive advantage and how it may positively or negatively affect your business.”

Another student, Jasreet Kaur, also enjoyed the program.

“I like the JA program because it is information that is preparing us for our future,” said Kaur. “We had a conversation with a person who owns a business and talked about his experience. It helps me believe that my own dreams can become a reality.”

The idea behind the program is that it realistically takes students from concept to action, and offers them real life advice on the trials and tribulations of starting your own business.

“They’re actually starting their own entrepreneurial projects,” said Tynan. “They’re actually creating a business idea of their own by going through these different program components we offer.”

The program is offered at no cost to the school, and is funded primarily through donations. In fact, JABC is the oldest nonprofit in the world teaching kids about business and entrepreneurship, according to Tynan.

“One of the major supporters is the Golden Community Foundation,” said Tynan. “We rely on donations and collaborations with governments and community foundations to make this program possible.

JABC is based on three pillars of learning: work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The ‘Be Entrepreneurial’ program is just one of the many programs that they provide.

According to JABC, after completing one of their programs, students are more optimistic about the future, are inspired by what they learn, are more financially literate and are better prepared for their futures. The program accomplishes all of this by developing real-life practical skills that are relevant throughout the course of the students’ lives.

While the ‘Be Entrepreneurial’ program has ended, the lessons the students learned will stick with them for a lifetime.

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