2022 COY Winners Attend Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington, D.C.

September 18, 2023 National

Last year, Gaia was named the 2022 Canadian Company of the Year Champion. Team Gaia had the opportunity to participate in JA Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington, D.C. this past June. The following four team members participated in this event: Harriet Li, Sandy Iligan, Ayaan Merchant, and Corina Chan.

"Among delivering such applicable content to young individuals, I really love how JA engages with students no matter type of person that enters the program. I feel that, not a lot of students have the opportunity in life to learn about business or finances. Junior Achievement is so influential in the way that it bridges this gap and creates connections between passion and entrepreneurship." Harriet Li

About the Entrepreneurship Summit

The summit included four days of learning and business planning at Finance Park, which led up to a final pitch competition held at The University of Maryland. Each day started with guest speakers, where students had to identify characteristics of an entrepreneur based on their story. A speaker that really stood out to us was Justin Drummond who left his D1 basketball career to pursue a career in entrepreneurship, investing in his many businesses.

Each day included different seminars and activities that focused on the key aspects of developing a business- finances, marketing, pitching, business plans, and more. After reflecting on the week, Team Gaia felt it was almost like an intensive JA Company Program that effectively delivers the JA curriculum about entrepreneurship.

At the end of each day, the team had time to work on their business ideas and refine their pitch.

The Pitch Competition

As part of the final pitch competition, there were 10 teams who had an assigned theme: pollution and sustainability, mental health, climate change, homelessness, or physical health. Teams would have roughly 5-8 students. The participants from Team Gaia were each placed on different teams, allowing them to network and meet new people.

The Winning Team: Pitch Competition

The first place team had climate change as their theme and their company name was Eco-Excursions. Sandy from Team Gaia was on the winning team:

"We developed an app that aims to bring together a diverse range of eco-friendly transportation options, sustainable hotel bookings, and environmentally conscious food choices. The app will incorporate a point system, allowing users to earn points for engaging in sustainable activities. These points can be later redeemed for gift cards and discounts at local businesses, encouraging users to stay within the city and reduce their carbon footprint. Furthermore, the platform will have a vibrant community feature, enabling users to interact with like-minded individuals and share their efforts in combating climate change."

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