The IPN Global Best Awards are supported by The Conference Board of Canada and the International education business Partnership Network. The Awards celebrate outstanding and effective business, education, and community organization partnerships that have had a significant impact on the communities in which they operate.
In September 2016, the Ottawa Network for Education was awarded an IPN Global Best Gold Award for Partnership (North America) for its innovative and collaborative approach to providing local students with the opportunity to apply business concepts to real-world tasks, work in a team to start a small business, and develop essential skills they will use in the future.
Here is the story of our award-winning JA Company program…
In September 2014, JA Ottawa began a pilot project to integrate the JA Company program – typically offered as an after-school club – into the curriculum of a Grade 11 marketing class. The pilot was co-developed by the Ottawa Network for Education and Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School to give students the engaging task of taking textbook lessons and putting them to the test.
Over a 15-week period, students were challenged to work together to start a new small business. As a team, they designed a product, created a budget, managed finances, developed a sales and marketing plan, and sold shares. The class was mentored weekly by one of three JA volunteers from RBC, IBM, and Carleton University.
The impact of this pilot project was profound.
Cathy Belanger, the marketing teacher observed a significant change in students’ level of engagement and behaviour. In particular, she noticed that:
• Overall attendance improved,
• Students that were chronically late started to arrive early to class,
• Students that were ill came to class anyway to help with production and sales,
• Student executives developed leadership and problem-solving skills to the point that they relied less and less on teacher intervention and support.
Given these outcomes, demand for the program grew quickly. Educators were inspired and keen to provide more students with this experience. Grade 10 students rushed to register for Grade 11 marketing classes that included JA Company programming. Longfields-Davidson added three additional marketing classes, and 7 other high schools from across the city integrated JA Company into their curriculum.
Today, the demand for JA Company continues to grow. This means that both the in-school and after-school programs need volunteers to mentor students and help us develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.
If you are interested in volunteering with JA Company, please contact Rebecca Kaell at firstname.lastname@example.org.