A new solar-powered robotic lawnmower, a revolutionary GPS mock credit card to track stolen or lost wallets, a new infra-ray airport security detector and a high-tech tire pressure detector were the innovations developed and unveiled by local high school students at CEO Academy. An exclusive one-week summer camp for high school juniors and seniors, CEO Academy is presented by Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida (JASWFL) in partnership with the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University.

At the conclusion of CEO Academy on June 14, four teams of entrepreneurial teens presented business plans and marketing packages for these proposed business concepts to a panel of past Junior Achievement laureates. The winning team created “MO,” a solar-powered, self-propelled lawn mower designed to mow the lawn in a manner similar to the self-vacuuming device, Roomba. The winning team included Celeste Lantz from Island Coast High School, Hailey Colhoun from Golden Gate High School, Miles Lowe from Barron Collier High School, Morgan Whitman from Island Coast High School and Chris Garbo from Barron Collier High School. Each member of the winning team was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to be used at the college of their choice donated by an anonymous donor who themselves benefited from a Junior Achievement scholarship.

“The projects were so well done and the competition was so close, that one of the judges who also happens to be a Junior Achievement Laureate, Phil McCabe, owner of the Inn on Fifth in Naples, spontaneously offered each member of the second place team a $500 scholarship to the college of their choice,” said Anne Frazier, President/CEO of JASWFL.

Open to rising high school juniors and seniors from Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties, the annual JA CEO Academy teaches students the basics of starting and operating a successful business. With the guidance of experienced local business leaders, entrepreneurs and FGCU professors, students worked in project teams to develop unique business concepts and comprehensive business plans.

“We are very fortunate to work with some wonderful partners, sponsors and supporters to conduct the CEO Academy,” said Frazier. “The curriculum is designed to give the students a chance to envision the possibilities of what they can be and will become. Throughout the week we saw participants get engaged, excited and grow to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Inc. provides in-school and after-school programs for students in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Today, 122 individual area operations reach more than 4 million students in the U.S., with an additional 5 million students served by operations in 120 other countries worldwide. For more information about Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, contact Anne Frazier at 239-225-2590 or info@jaswfl.org. Our website is www.JASWFL.org.