JA Company Program

JA Company Program

With the support and guidance of volunteer consultants from the local business community, the JA Company Program provides basic economic education for high school students. By organizing and operating an actual business enterprise, students not only learn how businesses function, they also learn about the structure of the U.S. free enterprise system and the benefits it provides.

JA Company Program helps young people appreciate and better understand the role of business in our society.

There are many ideas and options for a JA Company Program product! What's most important is that the students enjoy what they're producing and selling. While it is possible for JA Companies to offer services, this site offers a whole host of ideas for products that students might sell.

"The Next Big Thing" JA Entrepreneur's Showcase is the culminating competition to JA's flagship program, JA Company Program, which gives high school students the task of starting their own company. Under the guidance of a business volunteer, students decide on a product or service, market to their classmates and carry the responsibility of managing company finances as well.


Meeting One:

Students work together to establish an effective and efficient team environment, while outlining specific leadership roles for the future company. Students create values and standards for the company and explore its vision, mission and goals.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Determine how fundamental leadership principles create an effective company environment.
  2. Identify the company's departmental structure and associated leadership roles.
  3. Discuss the company's values.
  4. Consider a company name.
  5. Discuss the company's Capitalization Plan.

Meeting Two:

Working as a company, students conduct officer elections and learn about each departments specific responsibilities during the companys Operation and Liquidation Phases.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Classify the components of a Business Opportunity.
  2. Identify department responsibilities.
  3. Approve the company Charter Application and Bylaws.
  4. Initiate a company Capitalization Plan.

Meeting Three:

The company enters the Context Phase of the program. During this phase, students use tools, such as market surveys and cost-benefit analysis, to determine potential products for their target market.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Conduct market research to isolate a target market.
  2. Develop a market survey.
  3. Analyze product options.
  4. Generate questions regarding each departments Business Plan.

Meeting Four:

The company enters the Deal Phase of the program. During this phase, students select the top two or three product options for cost-benefit analysis.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Complete the Product Evaluation Form.
  2. Create sales goals for the company and individuals.
  3. Finalize and submit department Business Plans.
  4. Select a company name.

Meeting Five:

The company enters the Business Opportunity Phase of the program. Students host a board meeting to approve the company's Business Plan, review implementation strategies and accept the company Charter.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Initiate the organization and/or production of the product.
  2. Maintain accurate, organized department records of all transactions.

Meeting Six:

Materials needed for product production are ordered, and the company Business Plan is implemented. Students may take part in an extended learning opportunity.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Initiate purchasing materials for production.
  2. Prepare records needed for company operations.
  3. Identify the Sales Order Form and the product sales process.

Meeting Seven:

Students continue to operate the company.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Refine and implement all aspects of the company Business Plan.
  2. Prepare to sell the product to the defined target market.
  3. Initiate production.
  4. Maintain accurate, organized records of all transactions.

Meeting Eight:

Students continue to produce and sell their product. They learn about specific sales techniques that will assist them in reaching their sales goals.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify effective sales techniques and strategies.
  2. Recognize ineffective production strategies and adjust accordingly.

Meeting Nine:

Students hold department meetings to share best practices and propose changes to current company operations.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Continue sales and production of product.
  2. Refine departmental strategies.

Meeting Ten:

Students begin finalizing production, assess excess inventory and prepare for the Board of Directors liquidation meeting.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify and evaluate production and inventory needs for the final product sales.
  2. Begin to prepare all liquidation forms and records needed for the Annual Report.

Meeting Eleven:

Students explore Next Steps and learn how to apply what they have learned as a company to personal entrepreneurial pursuits.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore the JA Student Center and JA Career Assessment tools.
  2. Create a Personal Action Plan.
  3. Complete all Liquidation Reports.
  4. Compile the Annual Report.

Meeting Twelve:

Students conduct the final Board of Directors liquidation meeting and approve the Annual Report.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Distribute stockholder dividends.
  2. Celebrate their companys success.

JA Company Program enhances learning of the following concepts and skills:

  • Concepts in business, choices, competition, division of labor, entrepreneur, expenses, fixed costs, goods, incentive, income, liquidation, management, marketing, parliamentary procedure, price, productivity, profit, production, research and development, services, stock, variable costs.
  • Skills in assembling products, analyzing and interpreting information, brainstorming, consensus building, critical reading, gathering and organizing information, group and self-assessment, interpreting production inventory, oral and written communication, making observations, product analysis, public speaking, research, synthesizing and evaluating information, selling, working in groups.

JA Company Program was strategically developed to align with academic content areas. The programs focus on mathematics, reading and writing standards ensures relevance in all classrooms affected by high-stakes testing.

JA Company Program is a series of 12 meetings and is recommended for after-school high school students. The average time for each meeting is 90 to 120 minutes. Extended learning opportunities were developed to enhance and expand core activities. JA Company Program provides interactive, take-home materials for students including access to an online career assessment at www.ja.org. Materials are packaged in a self-contained kit that includes detailed activity plans for the volunteer and enough materials for 24 students.

All JA programs are designed to support the skills and competencies identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. These programs also augment school-based, work-based and connecting activities for communities with school-to-work initiatives.

For more information about this program, read the Program Summary. Download Volunteer and Teacher Guide here

For more information about "The Next Big Thing" event, click here.

To see how this program correlates to California State Education Standards and the Common Core Standards, click here.