Thirty-seven students from 15 area high schools recently came together to learn the ins and outs of running a business at Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida’s annual CEO Academy, a model week-long business school summer camp held for rising high school juniors and seniors.

Presented by Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida in partnership with the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University, CEO Academy teaches students the basics of starting and operating a business, preparing them for success in the global economy.

Students had the opportunity to interact with experienced local business leaders, entrepreneurs, FGCU professors and fellow high school students to complete high-energy team building activities covering the topics of economics, entrepreneurship, ethics, finance, global economy, marketing and international trade.

Throughout the week, students worked in teams to develop a unique business concept and comprehensive business plan. At the end of CEO Academy, seven groups of entrepreneurial teens presented business plans for these concepts to a panel of judges, distinguished Junior Achievement Laureates and exceptional entrepreneurs: Gary Tasman of Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Property of Southwest Florida, Scott Fischer of Scott Fischer Enterprises, and Pason Gaddis of Florida Media Group, LLC.

The first-place team presented a model business plan for their proposed company, GiftR, a gift registry platform featuring individualized profiles with gift suggestions for birthdays, anniversaries and more. The service pulls users’ wish lists from current online shopping platforms to create one complete registry list, making gifting an easier process for friends and family. The GiftR team consisted of high school students Helena Karst, Isabel Karst and Adam Mirzoev (Cape Coral High School) and Jacob Guard (Fort Myers High School). Each member of the winning team was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to be used at the college of their choice.

The second-place team presented a model business plan for their proposed company, SkyBites, an application that allows travelers to view a map of restaurants available in an airport they are visiting, order food, pay and have the meal delivered right to their gate. The SkyBites team consisted of high school students Ryan Recla (home-schooled), Maxwell Ahmadi (Cape Coral High School), Luz Alonso (Gulf Coast High School), Athenna Addis (Bishop Verot High School) and John Kane (Estero High School). Each member of the team was awarded a $500 scholarship to be used at the college of their choice.

To learn more about Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida and its programs, visit www.JASWFL.org or call 239-225-2590.

About Junior Achievement:

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches 4.8 million students per year in more than 100 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.6 million students served by operations in over 100 countries worldwide. Locally, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida partnered with more than 280 classroom business volunteers during the 2016-2017 school year to provide more than 10,600 students with Junior Achievement programs in excess of 440 classes throughout Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties. For more information on Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida visit www.JASWFL.org, call 239-225-2590 or email info@jaswfl.org.