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JA Holiday Market – gifts with a difference!

Five different companies created by Junior Achievement (JA) showcased their unique and wonderful products at The Paseo, Camana Bay, recently. It was a great experience for all the students, but it was good news too, for all the shoppers who were looking for unique and special gifts.

The JA Companies programme encourages the Year 11 students, drawn from Cayman’s High Schools, to start their businesses, and develop their own products and marketing strategies, with the help of experienced business advisors who volunteer to guide the students. Around 12 students, aged between 16 to 18, comprise each of the companies, creatively using their talents to form teams that create, market, and sell unique products.

“This market represents the culmination of eight weeks of hard work, both from the students themselves and volunteers from each of the advisor companies, without whose help and guidance the programme could not have gone ahead,” said Swan Sandoval, the Chamber’s Programme Coordinator. “I would like to thank Dart Enterprises and Camana Bay patrons for their support in helping make the market such a success.”

“Recreate,” is a company focusing on reusing, recycling, and repurposing, with plenty of imaginatively recycled items for people to buy.  Another company, “Beaded and Braided,” makes beautiful and unique jewelry, while “Crafted” is a company making wonderful wire sculptures for home décor. “Prop–Plant” is a company focusing on plant propagation, while “Interlocked,” makes beautifully original jewelry holders. All the students representing their companies were proudly showing off their imaginative products, and plenty of shoppers managed to pick up unique and wonderful gifts to surprise their family and friends.

In case you missed it, there’ll be another chance to visit the JA Students market and their unique gifts at the Cayman Islands Agricultural Show, in Lower Valley on Wednesday 14 February.

“The Holiday Market taught me so much about how businesses operate in the real world, and I also built my communications and teamwork skills. It was loads of fun!” said one of the participating students, Charles Player.

Another student, Maleik Eden said: “It went very well, while we forgot to bring table decorations, our bracelets lit up the table and grabbed the attention of many customers, Jayden Plummer said: “It was a successful day and we passed our expectation and improved our customer service skills.”

Laula Yusuf also gained much from the experience: “This market was a very good learning opportunity. It taught us a lot about how consumer–producer relationships work in the real world. It was also honestly a lot of fun.”  

One of the volunteer advisors was also very pleased with the market and what it had achieved: “The programme so far is providing the students with valuable real-world business operations skills, such as product development, financial management, leadership, etc. It also instills confidence, which is important for success. The dedication, commitment, and creativity of the students are commendable. The Holiday Market attracted a wide cross-section of people and exposed the students to customer engagement, and customers were impressed with the creativity of the items displayed and the passion of the students.”

If you would like to support JA by volunteering, then contact Swan at the Chamber: [email protected] or visit the JA Cayman website: https://www.jacayman.ky/