Students standing in a line in a classroom, smiling.

Titus Marvin and Benjamin Leibham were members of the third place team

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, eight Arkport High School students attended the 2022 Junior Achievement (JA) Entrepreneurial Youth Summit, held at Bryant & Stratton College in Greece, NY. 

 Modeled after the television show Shark Tank, the summit gave students the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship in a hands-on, real-world setting. Working in teams, the students were challenged to design a business product or service that solves a problem or fills a need in their community. This experience gave ACS students a firsthand glimpse into what goes into a business launch, from start to finish. “I had a fun time and I would recommend this for anyone who is interested in business,” said ACS sophomore Bryson Jones.

 The ACS students learned how to bring concepts to fruition, collaborate with others and “sell” their proposal through a full presentation and a short “elevator” pitch. The day culminated in the teams making a final presentation to a panel of judges; Titus Marvin and Benjamin Leibham were on the team that placed third. “It was a tremendously fun experience,” said Titus Marvin, an ACS senior. “I enjoyed working with students from multiple schools as we were assigned to teams. We were challenged in this unknown environment to work well together to craft our solution and elevator pitch.”

 In addition to exploring concepts that are critical to business entrepreneurship such as research, funding and market and need analysis, the students also learned leadership and communications skills as well as the value of working with a team — all skills that will serve them well in the future. “I can’t wait to go again,” said Sophomore Nicole Merry. “I had a great time networking and learning new things!”

 The 100 students in attendance from eight central New York school districts were divided into 17 teams or “incubator” groups; each team was assigned a professional mentor who guided them through the stages of developing a business concept and sales pitch. The teams presented their idea to one of four judges, all of whom are successful entrepreneurs. The judges critiqued the teams based on creativity, communication skills, team participation and overall idea.

 “This was a great opportunity for ACS students to adventure, explore and experience an academic competition in a highly engaging, fun and challenging venue,” said Steven Vogt, ACS business and computer education teacher. “It is awesome that our students were able to have a fresh academic experience, expand their thinking about careers and involve themselves with a blend of other students from around the greater Rochester region, all sponsored by JA. Hearing the students’ positive comments as we departed the event made it all worth the effort.”

About Junior Achievement

Held in Rochester for over 50 years, the Entrepreneurial Youth Summit is just one program offered by Junior Achievement (JA). JA is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to achieve economic success, plan for their futures and make smart academic and economic choices. JA’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed; its proven lessons in financial literacy, work and career readiness and entrepreneurship are shown to positively impact the lives of young people.

 “I feel the Junior Achievement Entrepreneurial competition was a great experience for everyone involved and gave me insights into other people’s thoughts and opinions regarding the business world,” said ACS senior Nathan Morey.

Students in the above photograph are, from left to right: Nicole Merry, Autumn Frechette, Bryson Jones, Ben Leibham, Titus Marvin, Donovan Gates, Nate Morey and Maureen Stuckey.