Junior Achievement (JA) Ghana held the 2019 edition of the national Company of the Year (COY) Competition to celebrate the hard work of over 170 high school entrepreneurs who have been trained in the JA Company Program to run their own companies in the past year.
The event, which took place on October 12, 2019 at the SB Incubator at the Silver Star Tower, was sponsored by generous donations from The Tomorrow Foundation, Delta Air Lines, and philanthropist Peter Gbedemah, with support from the SB Incubator and Pulse Ghana. The JA Ghana COY Competition was also organized to select the national representative for Ghana in the Africa regional competition scheduled to be held at the Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotels, Accra from the 4th – 6th December.
Through stage presentations in the first round, six teams were selected to progress to board room interview sessions. The competing schools were St. Mary’s Senior High School, Accra Academy, Ghana Christian International High School and Alpha Beta Christian College. Each team, made up of four executive members of the company, was given five minutes to pitch their businesses to a panel of judges who are entrepreneurs and representatives of sponsor organisations. The judges also had the opportunity to interrogate the teams on stage for another five minutes.
This year’s competition, which was themed “Activating Disruptors,” asked students to innovate new business models, products and strategies which would transform already existing markets. The student entrepreneurs developed ideas to disrupt the telecommunication, security, and health industry amongst others with truly transformative approaches to established markets.
At the end of the competition, Pedtor, a team from Alpha Beta Christian College, emerged as winners of the grand prize. Pedtor is disrupting children’s safety and security in Ghana through their tracking service that connects parents to children via a mobile app.
Other winners were Airtion Mobile, Alpha Beta Christian College which came in second place and Ultimate Ladies Enterprise, St. Mary’s Senior High School which came in third place. The CEO Rising Award went to Kensemaa Amfo Sackey (CEO, Pedtor) and The Tomorrow Foundation Tech and Innovation Award also went to Pedtor.
Speaking at the event, the Program Manager of JA Ghana, Abeiku Greene, noted that “JA Ghana’s mission is to empower our youth to own their future economic success by filling the gap between what they learn in school and what they need to be successful adult professionals. We believe that in a world where nothing is certain, giving young people real tools to take control of and build their futures can be truly inspiring.”
In attendance at the event was the CEO of Junior Achievement Africa, Elizabeth Bintliff, Chairwoman of The Tomorrow Foundation, Maggie Gu, MD of Delta Air Lines Ghana, Pakwo Shum, Programme Manager of Databank Foundation, Pebbles Parkes, Marketing and Communications Executive of Prudential Life Insurance Ghana, Frances Ofori, and a host of other guests.
As part of the event, JA Ghana also launched the 2020 class of the JA Company Program, funded by The Tomorrow Foundation and Databank Foundation. Ms. Maggie Gu presented a check to JA Africa of $300,000 to the Futurepreneurship Project for the next three years in Ghana, Gabon and Cote d’Ivoire.
“We need fairer wealth distribution on the continent, diversification of economies and strive today for a sustainable development in the future. These are the priorities of The Tomorrow Foundation. We believe that these goals can only be achieved from Africa by raising future African business leaders” she said in her remarks at the launch.
In accepting the donation, Elizabeth Bintliff expressed her gratitude to The Tomorrow “ With this donation, we have the opportunity reach even more youth and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders who have the skills to transform the continent by tackling its most pressing challenges”.
The event ended with the launch of the JA Ghana Alumni Association, a network of past beneficiaries of JA programs to create opportunities for shared growth and mentorship. The launch commemorated JA’s 100 years of global impact on youth economic development and efforts to create a global network of JA alumni across the world.
The President of the JA Ghana Alumni, Association Emmanuel Nyame said the network would provide former JA program participants with further experience and encourage them to strengthen their passion for entrepreneurship, while building an international network of like-minded people.