The JA Company of the Year Competition is Africa’s premier pitch competition for high school-aged youth. It is one of six competitions conducted by regions around the world. In 2010, the first ever Africa Region JA Company of the Year Competition was held in Nairobi, Kenya.
The 3 day competition brings together student teams (aged 15-19) from countries across Africa to compete for cash and prizes in this contest of business skills, ingenuity and innovation.
The students are judged by professionals from all works of life who take part in the competition as judges, coaches and mentors, all with the intention of elevating the students’ understanding of business and enterprise.
Africa’s economies are not creating as many jobs as we are graduating young people from our schools. Many youth are going on to find employment primarily through entrepreneurship. By teaching them the essentials of entrepreneurship earlier on in their academic careers, we better prepare them for success in their efforts. Be investing in and rewarding their efforts, we encourage them to forge ahead.
The four stages of the competition are:
In advance of the competition, students submit their company reports, which summarise the company’s business operations and reports.
Stage pitches present competitors the opportunity to talk about their businesses to a panel of judges drawn from the leadership of local and global organizations. Students outline their accomplishments and challenges of their businesses. JA makes every effort to elevate the level of expectation of the students each year.
Here, students can demonstrate their products to the competition’s judges, answering questions about the need identification, product functionality, target markets, etc.
The Board room experience mimics real life situations where business performance is scrutinized. Judges ask any questions about the company, probe company leaders on their understanding of how and why the company performed as it did, lessons learnedfrom the experience, and how these lessons might be applied in a new business context.
A Companies must have been active in the local JA Company Program during the current school year or the year before. The local JA Company Program should be a Secondary/High School program, and not a Graduate/University program.
Students representing their companies in the competition must be at least 15 years old.
The maximum number of participants per Company Program is four studentsand two students for ITS TYME.
Competitions are an important part of JA’s theory of change. We believe that competitions not only expose young people to the real world competitive work and business environment.Every year, young people who participate in JA’s flagship Company Program compete nationally and internationally at the annual Company of the Year Competition. The competition allows students to practice how to make business pitches, represent their businesses at expos and speak to investors and customers about their businesses and products.It builds their familiarity and comfort level with business terms and language as well as their confidence in being under the spotlight.