Registration Open for JA Innovation Challenge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Students looking for a taste of being an entrepreneur can register for this year’s JA Innovation Challenge virtual event, which challenges them to develop a pitch for a new pizza variety for Pizza Joe’s.

Hosted by Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley, the JA Innovation Challenge puts middle school students in grades five to seven to work as entrepreneurs. Students work in teams of three to five to practice entrepreneurial thinking, and to experience the creativity and sense of accomplishment that comes from solving a real-world problem, according to a press release.

The registration period closes on May 14. Schools and teachers can CLICK HERE to register their students for the program.

Each team is responsible for creating a one-minute presentation video of its pitch for an innovative pizza idea to Pizza Joe’s. Entries are judged on innovative idea, creativity, delivery and overall quality of the pitch.

Submission of entries begins May 1. All entry forms must be completed and videos must be uploaded by 5 p.m. May 14.

The purpose of JA Innovation Challenge is to teach essential workforce readiness skills and help students develop a mindset for 21st century careers, whether or not they become an entrepreneur, according to the release. Such skills include creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, presentation, self-awareness and management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.

This year’s event is virtual. All activities are student self-guided with materials accessible online. Lessons are provided in a digital student activity book with fillable PDF activity sheets.

Judging runs from May 17-19 and the winning team will be announced May 21. The first place team will have its innovative pizza put into production and sold at a Pizza Joe’s closest to the school/organization. Each team member will also receive a T-shirt and free pizza coupon. Second and third-place teams also receive a T-shirt and free pizza coupon.

For questions, contact the Junior Achievement office at 330 539 5268 or email

Pictured: Students make their pitch at a past live JA Innovation Challenge event prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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