COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, August 2, at Washington, D.C.'s George Washington University, Junior Achievement USA® (JA) selected teen entrepreneurs who own and operate the company "Eagle Eye" as winners of the 2012 U.S. JA Company of the Year competition. The team was selected from among 15 competing student companies comprised of 75 students representing JA operations from across the country. In addition to the JA Company of the Year competition, teens also competed in the JA Social Innovation Intensive and were measured on their student companies' financial performance.
"We're excited to win this award because it culminates our journey of growth and success. Our group grew from two to 27, and we enjoyed watching it evolve and sharing the experiences along the way. This award is a tangible way to show that our hard work has paid off and that it's all worth it in the end," said Eagle Eye President Jake Speyer, 18, of Chaminade High School in West Hills, Calif. Eagle Eye is a comprehensive sports media company providing videography, scouting services; highlight production, and marketing services for coaches and players alike.
The second-place winner for the JA Company of the Year award was Cast-A-Waste from Junior Achievement of San Diego, which converted recycled vegetable waste products into organic worm castings. The third-place award was presented to Start Up from Junior Achievement of Georgia, which created hand-painted trivets and combined the functionality of the appliance with the uniqueness and collectability of a quality, decorative piece of art.
The AT&T Social Innovation Intensive Award was presented to the team who created the best solution and product for a social problem.
Students partnered with AT&T advisors to develop concept papers and live presentations about their solutions. Teams then presented their recommendations to two panels of AT&T employees who served as judges for the event. The AT&T Foundation also supported the participation of all 75 students in the event.
Team Rain Drain's concept focused on the use of rainwater instead of purified water for toilets and won the award. Rain Drain proposed elevating a tank outside of houses and businesses and using gravity to bring water to toilets. The concept would save a family 44 percent on their water bill, and reduce use of fossil fuels. Additionally, as a philanthropic aspect to the company, for every 25 toilets installed, Rain Drain pledged to install a water pump in a community in Africa lacking access to clean water.
Rain Drain's team members are: Miss Sara Hojjatie, 19, recently graduated from Milton High School in Alpharetta, Ga.; Mr. Cameron Villadiego, 18, recently graduated from Chaminade High School in West Hills, Calif.; Miss Namita Money, 16, from Northview High School in Alpharetta, Ga.; Mr. Ayomide Awe, 16, from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Sandy Springs, Ga.; and Miss Brunna De Oliveira, 18, from Joseph Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga.
Team Place-Mate from Junior Achievement of San Diego from Westview High School won the Best Financial Performance Award presented by NYSE Euronext Foundation. The award is given to the student team which performs best against a high level of set criteria, including profitability, stockholder expectations, employee earnings, product quality, leadership, and operational efficiency.
"We're honored to receive the financial performance award. Creating the ideas for these projects is easy—it's the profitability part that's tough. So, we appreciate being rewarded for that process," said Trevor Minear with Place-Mate.
The awards were presented at a gala event in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hall of Flags and were the culmination of the five-day summit in the nation's capital.
The annual North American JA Company of the Year Competition is a contest of business skills, ingenuity and innovation that focuses on the accomplishments of U.S. JA Company Program ® students, ages 15-19, during the 2011-2012 academic year. Currently reaching nearly 400,000 young people a year globally, JA Company Program gives teens the skills to start and run their own businesses under the mentorship of a local business volunteer.
During the week in Washington, D.C., the teen-run companies participated in a trade fair where they promoted and sold their products and pitched their companies to a panel of judges comprised of business leaders. The companies were evaluated on their financial performance, and on their presentation to the judging panel.
Team Undefined from Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas also won the Social Media Award, for having the most "likes" on YouTube and Facebook of their self-produced commercial.
"The U.S. JA Company of the Year Competition is an exciting opportunity for Junior Achievement students to demonstrate the teamwork, leadership and innovative thinking that will help them drive success in the business world," said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA. "Through this competition, Junior Achievement is empowering these teen entrepreneurs to own their economic success through business ownership."
About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provides relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches 4 million students per year in more than 120 markets across the United States, with an additional 6.5 million students served by operations in 117 other countries worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.
SOURCE JA USA