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JA | ACE welcomes first class to the Academy for Collaborative Entrepreneurship at Embarc Collective

JA Tampa Bay holds inaugural class for their new entrepreneurship program in downtown Tampa

2020 will be a year of firsts and landmarks for Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, as the organization driven to see young students succeed in the workplace continues to evolve. One such first is the inaugural class at JA ACE (Academy for Collaborative Entrepreneurship) at Embarc Collective – the new tech startup innovation hub located in downtown Tampa.

JA ACE welcomed Jefferson High School ROTC students, who became the first to experience the next advancement in Junior Achievement programming. Prior to their visit, students are given one-class period to familiarize themselves with JA ACE and Embarc Collective, create teams, and introduce potential problems that need to be solved. Upon arriving at JA ACE and Embarc Collective, the students are given a tour of the innovation hub, assimilating to the atmosphere of a tech startup workspace. They are then introduced to the JA ACE Startup Experience program.

Anna Ryan, Director of Programs at JA Tampa Bay, is heading up the entrepreneurship program. After months of planning and preparation, she spoke of her first experience of JA ACE.

“I had great expectations for our JA ACE program, and the students came in and exceeded what was expected,” Ryan said. “The enthusiasm that they came with was outstanding, and they were able find solutions, solve problems, and innovate in a creative way.”

The flow of the day includes business problem and failure scenario solving tasks, creating a business plan, designing and producing marketing advertisements and commercials, and finally presenting their entrepreneurial idea to the rest of the group.

The students are also given an insight into what it means to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs, innovators, creative minds and business leaders sharing their personal success stories, allows students the opportunity to be exposed to role models and mentors in the startup industry.

“I am grateful for the experience I had today in learning about entrepreneurship,” said one student. “I believe that with a lot of hard work and dedication I am able to run my own business someday.”

JA ACE has also partnered with BlockSpaces to bring Blockchain education to high school students. The Blockchain for Teens workshop will be held on February 20, 2020.