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JA of East Central Ohio teens best 14 other student-run companies to score national title


Colorado Springs, Colo.—On Wednesday, June 20, in Washington, D.C., the teen entrepreneurs of Beelieve Inc., representing Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio, were selected from among 15 JA student companies as the JA Company of the Year, powered by The Hartford, at Junior Achievement's (JA) 2018 National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS).

In addition to winning the JA Company of the Year title, the Canton-area teens representing the first place student company were each awarded a $4,000 JA Company of the Year Scholarship from The Hartford. The Hartford also provided $2,000 scholarships to the each of the five students representing the second place team and $1,000 scholarships to each of the five students representing the third place team.

Their mission is to help preserve the shrinking bee population by creating more opportunities to pollinate flowers. Beelieve hand-made Seed Bombs designed to be planted in any garden, allowing bees to pollinate more flowers, thus creating a more beautiful world.

Junior Achievement's National Student Leadership Summit is a contest of business skills, ingenuity, and innovation that focuses on the accomplishments of the U.S. JA Company Program ® students, ages 15-19, during the 2017-2018 academic year. Currently reaching more than 10,000 U.S. students who created over 500 start-up ventures, JA Company Program students start and run a real business enterprise under the guidance of a volunteer from the local business community. They devise and market a product or service that fills an unmet consumer need and recruit investors for their company.

The student companies competing at the NSLS were assessed on their financial performance, individual team members' personal and professional development, a self-produced commercial about their product or service, their team's live presentation to a panel of business leaders, and on their company's performance at an Entrepreneurship Expo on Capitol Hill attended by Members of Congress.  

"Junior Achievement is empowering these teen entrepreneurs to own their economic success through business proprietorship. It is an exciting opportunity for Junior Achievement students to demonstrate the teamwork, leadership, and innovative thinking that will help them drive success in the business world," said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA.

The following awards were presented last week during ceremonies at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, capping the three-day summit in Washington, DC. The 2018 JA National Student Leadership Summit awards that were presented include:

  • JA Company of the Year, Powered by The Hartford: Awarded to the student businesses that most effectively demonstrated their companies' achievements, as well as the personal development of each team member.
  • 1st Place - Beelieve Inc. from JA of East Central Ohio (Canton, OH, Area)
  • 2nd Place - DEFY from JA of the Chisholm Trail (Fort Worth, TX, Area)
  • 3rd Place - Silicube from JA of Northern California (Bay Area, CA)


  • Delta Social Impact Award: Awarded to the student team that created an innovative solution to address a local, national, or global social concern.
    •  Beelieve Inc. from JA of East Central Ohio  (Canton, OH, Area)


  • EY Innovation Award: Awarded to the student team that effectively demonstrated how their product, service, strategy, or process is an innovative solution to an existing problem. The award recipient proved to entail aspects of creativity, impact, scalability, and lessons learned throughout their business endeavor.  
    • DEFY from JA of the Chisholm Trail (Fort Worth, TX, Area)


  • FedEx Access Award: Awarded to the student team with the best business plan demonstrating potential for job creation, growing small business, and expanding global development.
    • BlockchainGirls from JA of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA, Area)


  • ICE NYSE Foundation Best Financial Performance Award: Awarded to the student team that demonstrated the best financial results, including profitability, investor expectations, employee earnings, product quality, leadership, and operational efficiency.
    • Pocket Perks from JA of the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, North Dakota)

To view photos and videos from the JA National Student Leadership Summit, please visit www.facebook.com/JuniorAchievementUSA.


About The Hartford

The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at https://www.thehartford.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheHartford_PR.

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries under the brand name, The Hartford, and is headquartered in Hartford, Conn. For additional details, please read The Hartford's legal notice.


About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)

unior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 4.8 million students per year in 109 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.2 million students served by operations in 100 other countries worldwide. Junior Achievement USA is a member of JA Worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.

Media Contacts:

Ed Grocholski
Junior Achievement USA
(719) 540-6165

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