Career Readiness

JA Company 2021JA Ottawa

JA Company is a four-month program that supports high school students in starting their own business. In winter/spring 2021, 110 high school students, from 24 different schools, created 10 businesses!


With guidance from over 30 volunteer mentors from the business community, the teams built their own start-up from the ground up.


Take a look at the 10 different Company Programs!

Pitch It to Win it - May 1st 12PM

We invite you to attend JA Ottawa’s pitch competition, Pitch It to Win It! on Saturday May 1st, 2021, from 12:00-2:45PM EDT.

Watch JA Ottawa students pitch their companies to a panel of judges, competing to see who has the best pitch!

Are you looking for a unique and meaningful Mother's Day, Birthday, or Anniversary Gift? This is just the place to find that gift while supporting student entrepreneurs! Following the pitch competition, network with students during the tradeshow and show your support by purchasing products and asking questions!

For more information check out the news item!

Register on Eventbrite

Meet your judges below!

Maria Artuso, Darryl Bandoro, Karla Briones, Michael Curran, Richard L'Abbé, Coralie Lalonde, Eric McRae

Spring 2021 JA Companies!

Support local youth by purchasing products or services. JA Ottawa Company program runs until the 3rd week of May, so act now! Visit the company websites below and check out how they are making a difference in Ottawa!

Battle Bucks logo

Battle Bucks

To create and foster social ties within the community through friendly virtual e-sport competitions.


Cardinall logo


Delivering Smiles, Creating Community And Bridging Gaps Caused During The Pandemic.



Coastify logo


To improve the quality of life of those around us by creating meaningful handcrafted coasters.


Generocity logo


GenerOcity is an initiative to bring joy to our local community through selfless acts


Glued Paper logo

Glued Paper

Glued Paper aims to support the local community and inspire creativity through our love of art.


Hopevision logo


We make handmade bracelets which all represent different humanitarian causes.



Students 2 Students logo

Students 2 Students Publishing

We seek to help other High Schoolers by sharing our experiences.



We are a student run online tutoring company aiming to help students attain greater academic success



Vesta logo


Vesta's ambition to facilitate everyday tasks through technology helps connect our communities.



Yoso seeks to create clean and simple hoodies that are truly one of a kind.


Meet the 'Pitch It to Win It' Judges

Maria Artuso

Maria Artuso

Community Manager, RBC Royal Bank, Milton ON

Twitter | LinkedIn


Advice for young entrepreneurs:

'There’s no doubt that running a business takes a lot of time. The only way to be satisfied in your life is to do work that you truly believe in.
Love this quote from Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”
Believe that you can succeed, and you’ll find ways through different obstacles. If you don’t, you’ll just find excuses.'

Darryl Bandoro

Darryl Bandoro

COO / President, / Loan Desk

LinkedIn | Website 1Website 2


Advice for young entrepreneurs:

'Make connections with others. As a naturally shy and introverted kid, this didn’t come naturally to me. Some of my most rewarding experiences came from reaching out to others. Connect with people who can help you, such as mentors, and also look for people that you can help. There’s nothing more rewarding than the feeling you get when you make a big difference in someone’s life. As a bonus, you’re likely to grow from the experience as well.'

Karla Briones

Karla Briones

Serial entrepreneur, Founder of IDEA – entrepreneurship academy for immigrants

Website | LinkedIn Instagram | Twitter 

Advice for young entrepreneurs:

'Progress, not perfection! Get your idea out there, test it, iterate it.'

Michael Curran

Michael Curran

Publisher Ottawa Business Journal and President Great River Media

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Advice for young entrepreneurs:

'Take some risks, but make sure they're calculated.
If you're starting a business, try to be an expert in some of the key tasks/skills.
Make sure you understand your finances and have a resource dedicated to them.'

Richard L'Abbé

Richard L'Abbé

Retired former CEO, Med-Eng Systems Inc


Advice for young entrepreneurs:

'Your first attempt at Entrepreneurship may be successful, or it may not. If it isn’t, don’t be discouraged. Try, try again. Successful companies were very rarely built overnight, and business experience is acquired over many years of hard work.'

Coralie Lalonde

Coralie Lalonde

Coralie Lalonde, Angel Investor

Katsura Investments




Advice for young entrepreneurs:

'1. Do it with integrity. How you build a company is just as important as what you build.
2. Coming up with an idea is the easy part. Building it into a successful company is the hard part. I encourage you to talk to people about your idea. Most other entrepreneurs are willing to have a coffee or answer a question, so ask. It’s ok, if they say no.
3. Learn from your mistakes because you are going to make some. Expect them and take advantage of the learning opportunity.'

Eric McRae

Eric McRae

Founder, MBO Coworking

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Advice for young entrepreneurs:

'When starting a business do not try to build the perfect model the first time. Question your target audience diligently, identify 2-3 features that are achievable then see if they are willing to pay for it.

What does it take to be an entrepreneur is simple.
1. Develop a consistent method of questioning everything, including your own assumptions.
2. Be focused on what, who and where you spend your time. Everyone in the world has the same amount of time, how you assign it dictates your success.
3. You will also need to develop skills that most of the population never need to tap into. Being able to learn and maintaining a quest for knowledge is key. Develop and maintaining, deep relationships with your network, and demonstrate values that they will want to continue working with you. You will also have to demonstrate an exceptional work ethic, time management and standards well beyond most.'

Thank you to our JA Company sponsors:

Counselling Foundation of Canada logo
Rogers logo
Telfer logo
ja company, ja ottawa, ottawa network for education

“Unlike at school, where you are provided with materials, taught a lesson, and given time to study; JA puts you in situations that make you think and act on your feet. You are tested first, and then you learn from your failures or your successes.”

~ Khadeer, JA Company participant and award winner

Spark the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Youth

Help students connect classroom learning with real-world problems and issues. Your investment will inspire students to develop needed soft skills for tomorrow’s careers and help foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in our K-12 schools.

Volunteer with JA Ottawa

You can help us develop tomorrow’s leaders! Our volunteers teach JA curriculum and lead students through interactive learning activities, while sharing personal work-related experiences and knowledge. You can boost your company’s profile, develop your leadership and communication skills, and have a great deal of fun.