Record Number of Student Startups Participate in the JA EnTEENpreneur Conference!

Diverse Is Not A Curse!

Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas is honored to partner with our Board Companies, Enbridge and H-E-B, to present JA Company Program’s official pitch competition of 2020 – the JA EnTEENpreneur Conference! We are grateful to our Board member Greg Ebel, Chair, Board of Directors, Enbridge, for his unwavering support and to Lisa Helfman, Director of Public Affairs (Houston) from H-E-B for her guidance throughout the planning and execution of this event. This year’s virtual Conference saw 27 JA startups pitch for a chance to win seed money – the largest turnout we have seen! It was encouraging to see so many new JA startups deliver their first ever business pitch successfully and receive praise from our judges. Our hosts, the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and Rice Business Gives Back, supported us unconditionally from the conception to the execution of the conference. We also want to extend a very special thanks to Brock Wagner, the founder of Saint Arnold Brewing Company, for serving as our VIP entrepreneur during the power interview led by H-E-B’s Lisa Helfman. Listening to Brock share his experiences was a momentous occasion for our student leaders!

The JA EnTEENpreneur Conference included an amazing array of expert judges and their constructive input truly helped propel this event to great heights. We are thankful to Kris Cuellar (LILIE-Rice University), Rickie Bradshaw III (Frost Bank), Tyla-Simone Crayton (Sienna Sauce), Ryan-Alexander Thomas (Umanity), Dr. Christine Galib (The Ion), Andria Balogh (STEM-E/Pall Corporation), Eric Lin (UT) , Joey Sanchez (Houston Exponential), Eleonore Cluzel (gBETA Houston/gener8tor) and Jacob Parakadan (Enbridge) for their nurturing of our JA student companies. We are also grateful to London Hayes, Donald Kilbourn, Sophie Randolph, Andrew Shaw and Kavita Sinha from the Jones Graduate School of Business for their tireless work behind the scenes.

A brand-new JA startup, Diverse Is Not A Curse, from Harmony School of Innovation – Katy, won first place! Their mission is to encourage Houstonians to embrace and celebrate different cultural heritages through their international food/snack subscriptions. Another newly formed startup from The Village School, Student Power, won second place with their idea of providing free tutoring services to elementary and middle school students in the Houston area while also creating a way for high schoolers to earn volunteer service hours. Finally, long-standing JA company Dulicious Co. from Dulles High School won third place for their product Hexawrap, a sustainable solution to plastic bags and plastic wraps made from beeswax. Congratulations to our winners and all of the teams who participated!

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