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Students’ business ideas shine at Junior Achievement event

Story courtesy of the Guam Daily Post

Jolene Toves | The Guam Daily Post

TRADE FAIR: Students participating in the Junior Achievement Guam annual competition showcased their business missions and products Saturday during the JA Trade Fair at Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning. Untold was one of ten teams of high school students in the competition. Photo courtesy of Hanna Reyes, vice president of marketing, Untold team

Some of the island’s brightest students came together Saturday to share their business concepts and products with local shoppers as part of the Junior Achievement Guam annual JA Trade Fair, which culminated a year’s worth of projects that gave students the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship.

Hanna Reyes, a 10th grader, is one of the students who helped build a business from the ground up as part of a mixed group of students from Academy of Our Lady of Guam, Father Duenas Memorial School and John F. Kennedy High School. The team formed the Untold company, sponsored by Bank of Hawaii, one of ten teams in the high-school-level competition.

“I’m the vice president of marketing,” said Reyes, who was appointed by her team to the position in the company. “The thing that made me decide to take on this role is definitely what I know I will learn from the position.”

Reyes said she had experience in the world of marketing prior to the project, including marketing for fundraisers.

“Since I had more of an experience, I figured I’d try it out, it definitely interests and intrigues me because marketing is such a crucial role when it comes to business and how people perceive a company and the message of the company, so I wanted to take on that challenge and use my experience to get our company, Untold, the recognition it deserves,” she said.

Untold aims to connect and inspire communities around the world through its multipurpose coasters, each depicting an aspect of Guam’s culture, Reyes said.

“We believe our coasters are conversation starters and that goes back to what we are trying to achieve with our product. We are trying to start the conversation and bring awareness to what our island has to offer,” she said.

Untold coasters are made from wood and, like any up-and-coming business, the team had its share of challenges developing a business plan and sourcing the right materials to make the best quality product.

Other teams created businesses around products including a collapsible kåmyu, or coconut grater, and a “green” alternative to stationery paper that allows readers and writers to grow herbs such as basil, and poppy flowers, rather than adding trash to the landfill.

But the students are walking away with more than just the know-how in starting a business. They also accumulate work-life experience they can look back on in the future.

“Junior Achievement, to be frank, is one of the best things I’ve experienced as of now, I‘ve learned so much in just the span of a few months and, as for the competition, I really love the camaraderie that we’ve built, even though we are competing, we have a bond,” Reyes said.

One team will be chosen in January to represent JA Guam at the Junior Achievement Asia Pacific competition. The JA Trade fair held Saturday at Guam Premier Outlets was one of the competition’s events and an opportunity for the teams to pitch their companies’ missions and sell their products within the community.

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