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JA LaunchU!

Our Sparkler-in-Chief, Michelle Tran Maryns, is excited to be named Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Junior Achievement (JA). We Sparkle is partnering with JA to teach a new program called JA LaunchU!


This is a new program that equips motivated high school students (10-12th grade) with the skills needed to launch their own start-up business. It isn’t necessary for the idea to already be developed; rather, students can explore an idea to fill a need or solve a problem in their community while cultivating their entrepreneurial spirit.


Rising young entrepreneurs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area will be part of a cohort but will have the option to work individually in teams or on their own ideas.


Participation Students will participate in a minimum of 13 two-hour meetings in Junior Achievement’s unique JA Innovation Incubator, located at 1745 University Ave. W. in St. Paul, just off the Metro Green Line (Fairview stop).


October 21, 2019– May 1, 2020. One time per week (with holiday breaks as appropriate); Mondays from 6-8pm and occasional Saturday mentoring events (time could change depending on students desired schedule). 80% attendance requirement.


Mentorship Facilitated by JA’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Michelle Maryns, students will put theory into practice by creating, marketing and operating their own company from concept to business plan, financing, execution, and sales.


Additional content experts will conduct workshops on key start-up techniques and tactics. Opportunities will be provided to build students social network with business leaders and entrepreneurs. Additional JA tools and learning opportunities will also be incorporated (i.e. JA Titan and JA Launch Lessons)


Unique Environment for Innovation Students will have access to a dedicated work space in JA’s first-of-its-kind Innovation Incubator throughout the program, as well as access to other JA workspaces including video conferencing, auditorium, meeting rooms. They will also have access to technology tools (3D printer, poster printers, Smart Boards, video tools, etc.).


Comprehensive entrepreneurship education program for a full understanding of what it takes to initiate your own venture.


Launch Funding Upon successful completion of the program, participating students will be eligible for a $500 stipend to help launch their new venture!


Participants will also be eligible to compete in the local JA Company of the Year Competition held in April 2020, where top teams receive scholarships and the opportunity to apply to compete at JA USA Company of the Year Competition. Coaching will also be provided for any students interested in competing in the Youth Division of Minnesota Cup, which also offers prizes to top teams. Entrepreneur-in-Residence Michelle Maryns offers unique perspective for this effort; she is currently a 2019 Minnesota Cup Impact Division Winner for her social enterprise!


Application Process A simple online application for consideration will be required. Applications will require parent approval for participation and a reference from a teacher or community leader. Agreement to meet the Junior Achievement Code of Conduct standards is also expected. Application deadline is October 7, by 5:00 p.m.


For more information, contact Beth Tomscak at beth@jaum.org

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