Chief Executive Officer of JA Africa, Elizabeth Bintliff

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

Junior Achievement (JA) Africa will be hosting the 8th edition of its Country of the Year (COY) competition in Ghana next month. This year’s competition will witness the convergence of 13 teams from different African countries in Accra to compete among themselves for the prestigious entrepreneurial award.

The Company of the Year competition is the culmination of Junior Achievement (JA) flagship program called the Company program run in 14 African countries where Junior Achievement operates.

Through the program senior high school students gets the opportunity to start and operate their own companies throughout their academic years, after which they pitch their ideas at a national level and the winners then get to demonstrate their business acumen, creativity and entrepreneurial thinking at the regional level.

The three-day event, which is expected to be held on the theme ‘Tech the Future by Storm’, would have the various teams made up of young and brilliant  entrepreneurial African youths drawn from this time 13 African countries pitch their winning innovative business solutions to a distinguished panel of judges .

According to organisers, about 60 high school youths have so far booked their place in this year’s competition and would be taking through four stages of the competition including Company Report, Stage Presentation, Trade Fair and Board Room Interview.

The Chief Executive Officer of JA Africa, Elizabeth Bintliff told Biztechafrica in Accra during an interview that,  the Company of the Year (COY) competition is not simply a competition for young, instead its main  goal is to balance the business achievements of each team as a whole with the personal development of each individual member.

“Therefore, in order for a team to win top awards, it is not sufficient just to run a financially successfully company or have created an exciting product or service,” she said.

 Mrs. Bintliff noted that the judges made up of international business experts from US, Europe, Asia and Africa will look for evidence of overall company performance through innovation and the application of new ideas in all aspects of running the company.

“They also look for an understanding that continuous improvement through innovation is essential to the success of a business. Each company is different and its leaders must decide how best to convey their understanding and experience to the judges,” she added.

Junior Achievement Africa’s  Company of the Year competition this year holds a lot of bright prospects for the African youth as its been supported by strong international corporate brands including Fedex, Delta Airlines, Citibank, Coca Cola, Tomorrow Foundation, Kwessi TV, Kosmos Energy, Ashesi University, etc.

JA Africa provides young people with the tools and skills they need to be prepared for their professional futures either as entrepreneurs who create jobs for themselves and others or as employees who add value to their employers.

Its unique, experiential programs enable young people to experience and realise the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century.


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