Virtual Company Program FAQs
In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the continued uncertainty surrounding in-person gathering limits and access to public and private/corporate spaces, JA Central Ontario has made the decision to transition the JA Company Program to a fully virtual experience for this upcoming 2020/2021 school year. This will allow us to move forward with confidence that we can deliver a comprehensive Company Program experience without interruption or risk of cancelation.
Our goal for the JA Company Program remains unchanged: to engage high school students in an experiential learning opportunity where they can develop critical life skills and gain valuable knowledge and insight into entrepreneurship. Through the virtual JA Company Program, students will continue to have access to the success factors that have always been the foundation of the program including:
Experiential hands-on learning
Opportunity to collaborate
Opportunity to develop networking skills and network with JA community
Company Program events
PROGRAM STRUCTURE & BENEFITS TO THE NEW VIRTUAL MODEL
The overall structure of the JA Company Program will remain consistent to previous years with some changes to better support the virtual model:
How can we register for the program? Is the registration process the same as previous years?
The registration process will remain the same with one main difference: there will be no physical locations listed for programs this year as our expectation will be that all programs run virtually. Therefore, programs will not be listed in their usual “Sponsor + Location + Date/Time” and will only be listed by their “Sponsor + Date/Time”.
Registration will once again be completed online and will be first-come, first-serve. We will announce the registration opening date on social media and by email to all pre-registered students in advance.
Share the opportunity with your friends and sign up to a program together!
If you would like to be added to the pre-registration mailing list, please visit: www.jacocompanyprogram.org
Who can register as a student?
Any student enrolled in a high school (grades 9 to 12) in the Central Ontario region will be eligible to participate in the program. The Central Ontario region covers the following areas: Halton, Peel, York, Toronto, Durham, and Barrie.
If you are a student (or you know of a student) who previously was not able to participate in the JA Company Program because you were not able to travel to a physical program location, this year is your chance to take advantage of the virtual program!
Is the program only open to students with an interest/background in business?
Company Program is a well-rounded program where students from all areas of interests and skills can participate and benefit from. While many of our students do come from business related classes, we have had students from a wide range of interest and areas (including arts, science, etc.) participate. We encourage students from all interests to take part – the skills you learn and the experiences you will have go far beyond the business world.
What tech requirements are needed to participate virtually? What if a student does not have access to these tech requirements?
Students will need access to a stable internet connection and laptop/tablet to be able to participate in the program as the meetings will be held virtually each week. If a student does not have access to these tech requirements, please get in touch with the JA Company Program team in advance and we will support you in finding a solution.
Is there a particular reason that the number of students per team decreased to 10-20 through the new virtual model?
Encouraging and supporting student engagement in a virtual environment will be more manageable in smaller groups. While we will be scheduling regular meeting time for advisors to work with smaller groups of students in breakout sessions, we want every student to have the opportunity to contribute in the full group sessions. We also want to ensure programs all have an equitable number of students to support the program experience and tasks/roles. If student registration numbers exceed the number of available program spaces, we will increase student capacity in programs that can support larger groups.
While the 10 to 20 student group number is a decrease for some teams who normally see a higher number of students (programs in areas with lower access to programs tend to have higher number of students), this number is not unusual. In fact, many of our teams currently run with the same number of students. In other JA charters across Canada, this is a standard number for their CP teams.
What if gathering restrictions are lifted in the New Year, will in-person meetings be allowed?
With the virtual model, students (and advisors) on any given team would be located anywhere in Central Ontario and it may not be feasible for regular in-person meetings to take place as not everyone will have access to the physical location.
What virtual meeting platform will teams use?
It will be the responsibility of the sponsor/host to coordinate and manage the platform available for the meetings. These platforms include but are not limited to the following: Zoom, Google Classroom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype, etc. The Lead Advisor(s) will communicate to students prior to the beginning of the program to share details. This will be a free meeting platform for students to use.
I am uncertain and anxious about creating a digital product as I don’t have any experience and/or skills in this area. What resources will be available?
JA will be providing additional resources to students and Advisors through our resource portal and through webinars throughout the year to support the digital product development. These additional resources may include webinars around brainstorming digital products, how to set up an e-commerce site, and how to attract customers online.
This is a unique opportunity for students to take on a relevant and current challenge and develop their digital proficiency skills while learning about entrepreneurship. The skills students will learn this year will be skills that will be highly sought after for many years to come – no matter what industry/sector they decide on.
What are the guidelines for selecting a digital product?
We will be providing additional guidelines to teams regarding product/service selection. Companies will need to consider in-person production and in-person sales will not be viable with this model.
Recommendations would be to consider products/services that can produced virtually and be sold on an ecommerce platform. Some product/service options include:
What are some ways to make money through a digital product or service?
There are many ways to make money through a digital product or service! Some examples include:
Selling an online service through an app or website and charging users
Selling a digital product (i.e. e-book) through a website
Selling a membership or subscription fee for an app or website
Selling ads or sponsorships for an app, website, or virtual event
Selling tickets for a virtual event
Selling a product you design using drop shipping
There are so many possibilities and opportunities – you just have to be creative and think outside the box! And you will need to do some brainstorming and research – just like with any product or service, you can only sell what people need and are willing to pay for.
Can you provide some specific examples of a ‘digital product or service’?
We have had several teams in the past who have developed a digital product or service. In 2019-2020, two of our Companies of the Year were digital products (Stackd and Illuminare).
A few examples of these products in 2019-2020 include:
Accesso: A website that provides in-depth reviews on how wheelchair accessible malls and stores are across the GTA.
Career Connect: A website that connects youth with valuable experiences, skills and knowledge ranging from academic to employment topics.
Humble: A design company that provides a personalized website for individuals and businesses.
Illuminare: Offers podcasts and webinars to educate high school students about potential career paths and ways to improve student life.
Lynx: A website that allows high school students to easily pair up with internships from a variety of fields.
Stackd: A website and events start-up that provides an inclusive environment for gamers to connect with others that share the same values.
To view the profiles for these companies, please check out our Yearbook.