Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans (JA) has partnered with the Brees Dream Foundation to create the Trust Your Crazy Ideas Challenge.  The competition teaches entrepreneurial thinking to students and fine tunes their business pitches before presenting the finalists at a culminating event during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

We start in the classroom with JA Catalyst, a 5 session program that imparts the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, preparing young innovators—each of whom starts with his or her own “crazy idea”—to create a thoughtful, organized and engaging business plan that will demonstrate the potential to bring their ideas to fruition.

The Challenge inspires students to dream of starting their own business through the following steps:

  1. Students participate in JA Catalyst, a 5 session program that guides the students through elements of a business model.
  2. Students develop a business solution that will make a difference in their community or answer a need in the marketplace.
  3. Students submit their business plans for the first judging round of The Challenge and semi-finalists are chosen.

The semi-finalists are mentored by local entrepreneurs and community leaders during the intensive JA Accelerator Workshop Series held at Junior Achievement’s facility over eight weeks. The workshops provide a platform to not only inspire students to anticipate and solve problems, but also develop entrepreneurial and management skills. With the mentor’s guidance, the teams will improve their public speaking and presentation skills while providing real-world networking opportunities.

Gaining proficiency in entrepreneurship and business soft skills will help chart a course that will take the students from high school to higher education and beyond.  In addition to all the students gain through the Challenge experience, the top four teams and their schools also receive educations funds.

What Others are saying about the Challenge

“I sure wish I had this program when I was in high school. The empowerment, connections, and confidence are incredible! I hope to see this program continue its growth while inspiring young people all over the USA that they can trust their crazy ideas. It sure has inspired me.”

-Kenny Nguyen, Three Sixty Eight & TYCIC Mentor

“The Trust Your Crazy Idea Challenge has been a unique learning experience and opportunity for my son. This program has offered students business insight and inspiration from a spectrum of successful mentors who believe in the abilities and talents of the future generation. The experience of working cooperatively as part of a team in developing a business concept and moving it forward to completion has been a valuable lesson in the competition.”

-Betty Thibodeaux Wolfers, parent

“We have joyfully witnessed our son become more experienced and confident in himself. The knowledge and training he has acquired will passionately lead him down the path to entrepreneurship.”

-Byron and Alice Poydras, parents

“The Challenge is a unique opportunity for talented and self-motivated students to work together at design thinking and presentation, a process that will serve them very well in college and the workforce. Our students are visibly invigorated by this competition!”

-Peter Flora, Isidore Newman teacher

“The work involved in the Challenge, along with the advice and guidance from the various inspirational mentors, has helped our daughter realize how multifaceted business is. It will undoubtedly help her as she pursues her degree in Finance/Accounting. The advice from the mentors has motivated and encouraged her to strive for the highest success possible and not just settle for whatever is attainable. Overall, we think this has been extremely beneficial for our daughter and we appreciate Junior Achievement and the Brees Dream Foundation for the opportunity.”

-Daryl and Lisa Schloz, parents

My students have grown through this process by becoming very motivated to become entrepreneurs. I watch them apply the knowledge Junior Achievement has given them towards becoming honest, diligent and determined future business owners.”

-Michelle Marquez-Williams, Lake Area High

Junior Achievement
Brees Dream Foundation
The Idea Village

A program of Junior Achievement in partnership with the Brees Dream Foundation and The Idea Village