Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs: Comcast Business and Junior Achievement – Week 3

December 07, 2015

This is the third in a series on Comcast Business work with Junior Achievement. For a look at the previous article, click here.

It’s week three of this year’s Junior Achievement Company Program, and we picked up where we left off last week with our “product” discussion. Our mentors, led by Comcast national customer operations manager, Selena Earley, talked to the class about how to identify a need in the community for a new product or service, and what that solution could be.

We broke the class up into four groups and asked the students to brainstorm a list of 6-10 ideas, and then had them narrow the list down to their best two ideas. They then took turns presenting the ideas to the rest of the room. Here’s what our four groups came up with:

  • Odorless litterbox
  • Winter hot chocolate stand at subway (SEPTA) stops for passengers looking to keep warm
  • “911” public safety application
  • Custom clothing brand
  • A “pillow” alarm clock
  • Heated blankets for resale at sporting events and to sell to homeless shelters
  • Wearable phone charger
  • Wearable personal safety alert

After a healthy debate about the pros and cons of each idea, the group settled on two for further consideration.

As a mentor, this is where things got interesting. Naturally the kids are enthusiastic and have a lot of great ideas—and it's our job to keep them inspired and engaged while also steering them toward a product that is realistic. For example, Junior Achievement Company Program rules prohibit the students from developing a business based on food and beverage (realism), so we asked students to think about another idea in place of the hot chocolate stand for the next session that focuses on the same need (cold).

As they work through that, we encouraged them to vet their ideas using the following guidelines, which we’ll cover in detail in next week’s session:

  • Does the product or service fill a need?
  • Is there a market for the product or service, and would that market pay a price that allows you to make a profit?
  • Does the product or service offer something unique that does not exist elsewhere?
  • Does the product or service solve a problem that cannot be found in another product or service?
  • Can you produce the product or service with the resources available to you?

We also encouraged students to start thinking about sourcing, or where they would find the materials to create the product or service, as discussions around supply chain management can take up a lot of valuable classroom time. Next week we’ll cover these topics in more detail.

Read Week 4

It’s week three of this year’s Junior Achievement Company Program, and we picked up where we left off last week with our “product” discussion.

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