JA StartUp

JA StartUp™ gives students insight into the exciting world of entrepreneurship!

Junior Achievement is part of the solution—fueling the entrepreneurial spirit and providing a launch pad for tomorrow's brightest innovators. JA's hands-on entrepreneurship programs expose youth to business concepts—helping them understand that start-up is a viable career option, and providing opportunities to run their own businesses, work as part of a team, and be guided by real-world mentors, including local entrepreneurs and business professionals. 


JA StartUp is a comprehensive program designed to give students all the resources and tools needed to become entrepreneurial thinkers and doers!

Contact Andrew Kirk at akirk@JAtoday.org to register your class or to ask about volunteer opportunities.




Step 1

JA Be Entrepreneurial

7 x 45 min. volunteer visits to the classroom

The program begins with the JA Be Entrepreneurial program taught in the classroom by a volunteer or by a group of volunteers. It includes the following sessions:

Session 1: Introduction to Entrepreneurship  Students are introduced to the elements of successful business start-ups, myths and facts about entrepreneurship, and participate in a product development competition.

Session 2: What's My Business?  Students take on the roles of various entrepreneurs as they develop their product or service idea, and analyze sources of successful entrepreneurial ventures to select a product or service as the basis of their business plan.

Session 3: Who's My Customer?  Student groups create and present advertisements to demonstrate how market needs and demographics contribute to successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Session 4: What's My Advantage?  Students evaluate actual companies that have excelled in selecting and applying successful competitive advantages.

Session 5: Competitive Advantages  Students play a game that demonstrates effective competitive advantages and select the best for their own entrepreneurial venture.

Session 6: Ethics Are Good For Business  Students learn through case-studies how being ethical is good for business in the long run.

Session 7: The Business Plan  Students apply the key elements of successful entrepreneurs to their product or services and complete a sample business plan.

Step 2

JA Launch Lesson


1 x 1hr. volunteer visit to the classroom

Either before or after the JA Be Entrepreneurial program is taught, JA Launch Lesson is presented. This one-hour visit is facilitated by a local business owner or entrepreneur. If the JA Be Entrepreneurial program was taught by a business owner, this step may be taught by the same volunteer.

It gives the students the opportunity to hear practical insights about what it takes to own a company.

Step 3

Pitch Videos

created by student teams and submitted by deadline

Classes split into as many teams of 3-5 students as desired to create short product or service pitch videos. These products and services are VIRTUAL; it is not expected that the students will indeed follow through to create actual products and services – but of course they are welcome to if they like! 

These videos will be viewed and voted on by startup mentors and thought leaders.

Step 4

StartUp Finals Competition

1 x 6 hr. competition for pitch video finalists in partnership with Virginia Commonwelath University

A select number of teams will be invited to participate in the JA StartUp Finals where they will work with mentors to perfect business plans and pitches and present ideas in a Shark Tank-style competition. The winning team earns a $2,500 scholarship and bragging rights!


business plan; capitalization; company structure; entrepreneurship; financial tools; company launch; leadership; liquidate; marketing; personal action plan; pitch; product development process; product and service evaluation; quality control; sales techniques; supply chain; SWOT analysis.


sponsored by:





For more information, please contact Andrew Kirk.



Pillars of Student Success Entrepreneurship:  Financial-Literacy:  Work-Readiness: 
Program Implementation Program Grade-Level
Classroom-Based High School
Program Concepts Program Skills

Program Sessions