Manitoba teenagers show off business skills at entrepreneurship trade show

Manitoba high school students showcased their own start-up businesses in a junior achievement trade fair at St. Vital Centre Saturday afternoon.

The JA Manitoba (Junior Achievement) annual trade fair featured the work of 150 students from 17 Winnipeg high schools, as well as one outside the perimeter.

The entrepreneurial after-school program for grades 9-12 challenges students to develop a product or service, launch it, and then run their start-up business under the guidance of teachers and business mentors for six months.

“They will put together the company, create the concept, create the product and this is what the end result is,” said Jeanette Bergmann, JA’S company program manager.

She said students learn all the necessary starting a business. “These students start from the ground up, they’re learning how to put together a business plan, they’re learning how to create a safety plan, they’re learning the different positions in a company,” said Bergmann.

This year’s booths include road trip activity books, candles, flower-growing kits, and hand-made charcuterie boards.

“We came up with the name ‘Chop and Chomp’ because you eat on one side, and you chop – prepare food – on the other,” said student Lea Morgado, showing off her company’s selection of laser-engraved charcuterie boards made from recycled wood.

It’s been a great learning experience for Morgado. “I’ve definitely learned that you need a good team to make anything happen, so we have a good team of 22 students and together everyone plays their role,” she said.

Bergman said each student takes something different away from the program.

“Some are going to learn people skills. Some of the students are going to have a chance to learn public speaking skills, some of the kids are honing in on social media skills,” she said. “Certainly entrepreneurship, that’s the main goal.

JA Manitoba students will have another chance to showcase their work and sell their products at a second trade fair Apr. 15 at Kildonan Place.

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