JA Company Program®

JA Company Program® provides basic economic education for high school students by allowing them to organize and operate an actual business. Students not only learn how businesses function, they also learn about the structure of the U.S. free enterprise system and the benefits it provides.

Volunteer consultants from the local business community employ a variety of hands-on activities and technological supplements to challenge students to use innovative thinking. The business skills that students learn in this after-school program will prove valuable as they begin to consider higher education and career choices.

Each JA Company Program® kit contains a plethora of resources, including a handbook for teachers and volunteers and interactive, take-home materials for students. Materials are packaged in a self-contained kit that includes detailed activity plans for the volunteer and enough materials for 24 students.

JA Company Program® teams from the United States and Canada may be eligible to participate in the North American JA Student Company of the Year Competition.

JA Company Program® enhances students’ learning of the following concepts and skills:

  • Concepts – Business, Choices, Competition, Division of labor, Entrepreneur, Expenses, Fixed costs, Goods, Incentive, Income, Liquidation, Management, Marketing, Parliamentary procedure, Price, Productivity, Profit, Production, Research and Development, Services, Stock, Variable costs
  • Skills – Assembling products, Analyzing and interpreting information, Brainstorming, Consensus building, Critical reading, Gathering and organizing information, Group and self-assessment, Interpreting production inventory, Oral and written communication, Making observations, Product analysis, Public speaking, Research, Synthesizing and evaluating information, Selling, Working in groups

Program Components

The key learning objectives listed beside each activity state the skills and knowledge students will gain.

Meeting One:

Students work together to establish an effective and efficient team environment, while outlining specific leadership roles for the future company. Students create values and standards for the company and explore its vision, mission, and goals.

Session Objectives:

  • Determine how fundamental leadership principles create an effective company environment
  • Identify the company''s departmental structure and associated leadership roles
  • Discuss the company''s values
  • Consider a company name
  • Discuss the company''s capitalization plan

Meeting Two:

Working as a company, students conduct officer elections and learn about each department''s specific responsibilities during the company''s Operation and Liquidation Phases.

Session Objectives:

  • Classify the components of a business opportunity
  • Identify department responsibilities
  • Approve the company charter application and bylaws
  • Initiate a company capitalization plan

Meeting Three:

The company enters the Context Phase of the program. During this phase, students use tools such as market surveys and a cost-benefit analysis to determine potential products for their target market.

Session Objectives:

  • Conduct market research to isolate a target market
  • Develop a market survey
  • Analyze product options
  • Generate questions about each department''s business plan

Meeting Four:

The company enters the Deal Phase of the program. During this phase, students select the top two or three product options for cost-benefit analysis.

Session Objectives:

  • Complete the product evaluation form
  • Create sales goals for the company and individuals
  • Finalize and submit department business plans
  • Select a company name

Meeting Five:

The company enters the Business Opportunity Phase of the program. Students host a board meeting to approve the company''s business plan, review implementation strategies, and accept the company charter.

Session Objectives:

  • Initiate the organization and/or production of the product
  • Maintain accurate, organized department records of all transactions

Meeting Six:

Materials needed for product production are ordered, and the company business plan is implemented. Students may take part in an extended learning opportunity.

Session Objectives:

  • Initiate purchasing materials for production
  • Prepare records needed for company operations
  • Identify the sales order form and the product sales process

Meeting Seven:

Students continue to operate the company.

Session Objectives:

  • Refine and implement all aspects of the company business plan
  • Prepare to sell the product to the defined target market
  • Initiate production
  • Maintain accurate, organized records of all transactions

Meeting Eight:

Students continue to produce and sell their product. They learn about specific sales techniques that will assist them in reaching their sales goals.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify effective sales techniques and strategies
  • Recognize ineffective production strategies and adjust accordingly

Meeting Nine:

Students hold department meetings to share best practices and propose changes to current company operations.

Session Objectives:

  • Continue sales and production of product
  • Refine departmental strategies

Meeting Ten:

Students begin finalizing production, assess excess inventory, and prepare for the board of directors liquidation meeting.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify and evaluate production and inventory needs for the final product sales
  • Begin to prepare all liquidation forms and records needed for the annual report

Meeting Eleven:

Students explore how to apply what they have learned as a company employees to personal entrepreneurial pursuits.

Session Objectives:

  • Explore the JA Student Center and JA career assessment tools
  • Create a personal action plan
  • Complete all liquidation reports
  • Compile the annual report

Meeting Twelve:

Students conduct the final board of directors liquidation meeting and approve the annual report.

Session Objectives:

  • Distribute stockholder dividends
  • Celebrate their company''s successs

All JA programs are designed to support the skills and competencies identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. These programs also augment school-based, work-based, and connecting activities for communities with school-to-work initiatives.

For additional information on this and all Junior Achievement programs, please visit