The Telfer School of Management and the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) Junior Achievement (JA) program have signed an agreement for the promotion of youth entrepreneurship. The objective of the agreement includes fostering community engagement and enhancing the offering of experiential learning in Ottawa schools.

The JA program inspires youth to start a business, make better financial decisions and chart a career path, while engaging community volunteers from local businesses and post-secondary institutions to provide hands-on learning opportunities for Grade 5-12 students. The program is offered free of charge to local area schools with the support of volunteers, community partners and sponsors.

“JA has been a pillar of this community and many like it across the country for several years”, says Matt Archibald, Assistant Director of the Student Services Centre at the Telfer School.  “We are pleased to be connecting students with this organization to assist in the development of skills in the areas of entrepreneurship, career planning, and financial literacy.” He adds: “This is a great experiential learning opportunity for our Telfer students as it allows them to give back in a meaningful way and teach other younger students about the skills that they have developed over their academic post-secondary careers.”

One of the benefits of the JA programs is that it gives students opportunities to get access to help and funding for launching their own business. A great example of this reach is Guillaume Auger of Garneau High School, who was one of two recipients of the 2015 JA Next Generation Leadership Forum scholarship at the JA Company Celebration in June of this year, for which the Telfer School was one of the presenting sponsors. Guillaume is the president of the Tie or Dye JA Company, a business with which his team placed second in the 2014 Enactus uOttawa Perfect Pitch competition, a Dragon’s Den-style competition which gives students the opportunity to join a day full of workshops on entrepreneurship-related topics and to experience a pitch simulation first-hand.

 “What better way to inspire our young leaders of tomorrow with our young leaders of today?” says Albert B. Wong, Director of JA Ottawa. “JA Ottawa inspires young people to startup businesses, make better financial decisions and chart a career path, and Telfer JA Volunteers are enthusiastic, positive role models for our next generation. Junior Achievers, like Guillaume Auger, develop soft skills and an entrepreneurial mindset which lift the trajectory of their career paths.  The Telfer JA partnership is a win-win for Telfer students and Junior Achievers, some of whom aspire to attend Telfer like Guillaume.”

The partnership with the JA Ottawa program is just one of the many initiatives supported by the Telfer School to connect with high school students; other examples include the Perfect Pitch competition, hosted by Enactus uOttawa, which provides students with an opportunity to practice their entrepreneurship skills in a fast paced pitch event based on Enactus-led training, and the Place à la jeunesse academic competition, an initiative from the University of Ottawa’s Jeux du Commerce (JDC) delegation, which give high school students a taste of the business world and promotes post-secondary education in French.

PHOTO (from left to right): 
François Julien, Dean, Telfer School of Management
Kathy McKinlay, President and CEO, Ottawa Network for Education
Albert Wong, Director, JA Ottawa