Local students to pitch new products at JA Pitch Day

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Greenville High School students show off their JA Company products that they sold at a recent pop-up store event. Courtesy Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes

A Junior Achievement chapter will give high school students a taste of “Shark Tank” next month.

Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes, based in Grand Rapids Township, will host a virtual JA Pitch Day event for students to pitch their product and sales and marketing strategies to a panel of area business professionals and entrepreneurs on May 7.

Students will submit their pitch via video in advance of JA Pitch Day, incorporating a PowerPoint presentation that will demonstrate to the judges their motivations for creating that particular business, a current sales report and the strategic process behind their business plan, and the event will culminate in an online live awards ceremony and celebration at 1 p.m.

High school student teams who participated in a 2020-21 JA Company Program are eligible to compete in the event. The JA Company Program is a 13-week course where students manage their own quick-start businesses throughout a semester with the guidance of a qualified entrepreneur or business professional volunteer from the community.

“This is such a fun and impactful event at JA,” said Bill Coderre, president and CEO of JA of the Michigan Great Lakes. “It is inspiring to witness the creative collaboration, dedication and competitive spirit blossom within each student during this journey.”

Pitch competition winners will receive cash prizes sponsored by Grand Valley State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and will be eligible to complete in the national Pitch Day competition hosted by JA USA, pitting their product against student products from all across the country.

DWH Corp. is the title sponsor of the event, and Independent Bank and Bissell are supporting sponsors.

Junior Achievement’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy by providing work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs to K-12 students.

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