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Winners of the 2017 JA National Student Leadership Summit


The  National Student Leadership Summit  (NSLS) is part of Junior Achievement’s annual celebration of the accomplishments of  JA Company Program ®  students, ages 15-19, from across the United States. They develop and market a product or service with the goal of realizing a profit for their shareholders. Reaching nearly 14,000 U.S. students during the 2015-16 school year who created nearly 700 start-ups, JA Company Program gives teens the skills to start and run their own businesses under the mentorship of a local business volunteer.


This pinnacle event brings together 15 JA student companies to our nation's capital for three days of high-impact JA experiences. The Summit features the  JA Company of the Year powered by  The Hartford , the FedEx  Access Award, the  Delta Social Impact Award and the  ICE NYSE Foundation  Best Financial Performance Award.


The winners of this year's National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS) are :


JA Company of the Year Award

On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in  Washington, D.C., Junior Achievement USA ® (JA) named the teen entrepreneurs who created the student-run start-up  Alpha Necessities from  Junior Achievement of South Florida (Fort Lauderdale Area) as winners of the 2017 JA Company of the Year, powered by The Hartford. The team was selected from among 15 competing student companies representing JA operations across the country. Each member of the winning team present in Washington, DC received a $4,000 scholarship from The Hartford. The award is given to the student business that most effectively demonstrates their companies’ achievements, as well as the personal development of each team member.


The second-place team was Knada , representing JA of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Area). Each member of the team present in Washington, DC received a $2,000 scholarship from The Hartford. The third-place team is Crimson Café, representing  JA of the Upper Midwest (Minnesota and North Dakota area). Each member present at the summit received a $1,000 scholarship from The Hartford.


FedEx Access Award

Feel the Color , representing  JA of the Chisholm Trail (Fort Worth Area), was the winner of the FedEx Access Award. The FedEx Access Award is given to the JA student company which best demonstrates their understanding and application of global access, leveraging international trade to create jobs, grow small businesses, expand global development and improve the environment. “At FedEx, we’re passionate about making the connections that improve lives,” said Rose Flenorl, manager of Global Citizenship at FedEx.


Delta Social Impact Award

Alpha Necessities representing  JA of South Florida, won the Delta Social Impact Award by applying entrepreneurial thinking to create a realistic, achievable, and innovative solution (product, service, event, ad, campaign) to a (local, national, or global) social concern. The teens also had to describe the lessons they learned from the challenge.


ICE NYSE Foundation Best Financial Performance Award

Knada from Junior Achievement of Southeastern Pennsylvania was the recipient of the  Intercontinental Exchange/New York Stock Exchange Foundation “Best Financial Performance” Award. This award is presented to the JA student company with the best achievement against the following metrics: Profitability, exceeding Investor Expectations, Employee Earnings, Product Quality, Leadership, and Operational Efficiency. An evaluation was done of Company Reports; five finalists were interviewed by experts in the financial industry.


Social Media Award

The Social Media Award was presented to the group of three JA Companies who generated the most Tweets during the week’s event. In all, 15 participating teams were assigned into five groups and tasked with Tweeting about JA and this Summit, using assigned hashtags. The representatives of the winning group each received a gift card. 


Jim Sweeny Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence


Sierra Ryan Wallick from Wilmington, Delaware was the winner of the 2017 Jim Sweeny Award . This $1,000 scholarship is named in honor of Jim Sweeny, a JA executive at the local and national levels, who, for 32 years, played a critical and influential role in shaping the future of Junior Achievement. The JA Pioneers, our retiree organization, created this scholarship in his honor. It is awarded to a JA Company Program student in recognition of his or her accomplishments, role in their JA Company, and entrepreneurial potential.


Junior Achievement would like to express our sincere gratitude to The Hartford, EY, FedEx, ICE NYSE Foundation, and Delta for their generosity and continued investment in JA students.


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