Shishir Bhusal first heard of Junior Achievement two years ago when he was in Grade 10 taking the Financial Management and Entrepreneurship course offered as part of the Career and Technology Studies at his high school. During class, his teacher distributed a brochure about JA, and, excited by the idea of acquiring practical business experience, Shishir signed up for JA’s Company Program.
Shishir values the real-life business skills he has learned during his two years with JA. In fact, he is so convinced of the benefits of the Company Program that he has persuaded several of his friends from the finance class to register for this coming year. Shishir considers that the most important skill he has learned is the value of being a team player and working cooperatively to achieve a goal. The JA Company Program has also given Shishir the opportunity to develop his leadership skills. This summer, he is drawing upon this leadership experience to act as a team coordinator for his soccer club. The club, with a senior and junior team, caters especially to youth new to Canada and to youth whose families cannot afford the expense and gives them the opportunity to play the game.
Since he is particularly interested in finance, Shishir twice took on the role of VP of Finance so that he could gain an in-depth knowledge of this position. In the first year, he concentrated exclusively on the many tasks required of the VP of Finance. However, in his second year, he shared his financial responsibilities with two other company members. This sharing strategy had two advantages: the other two members gained valuable experience, and Shishir was able to participate more in the group discussions. For the upcoming year, he would like to try a different role or possibly run for president so that he can learn another set of skills.
In 2015, Shishir’s company — Beats by JA — decided to make an ecofriendly amplifier requiring no batteries or electricity. Members wanted to design an amplifier that would house a phone and would boost the sound of the music in small areas like a camping site or a shower. They experimented with metal and ceramic prototypes, but they finally chose bamboo because their research revealed that this material has good acoustic qualities. Additionally, the bamboo amplifier was lightweight, portable, and fit easily into a backpack.
One of the challenges facing the team was the delay in getting their product to market. Members had taken a long time finalizing the choice of product, and, in addition, they found they could not produce enough amplifiers to meet demand. However, despite a slow start, their product was well received. Priced at $15, the ecofriendly bamboo amplifier was popular with high school students as well as people in the over-thirty category. Another positive sign was the fact that they sold out of their bamboo amplifiers at both the trade shows.
After he graduates from high school, Shishir is thinking of pursuing his interest in business and accounting, and he plans to apply to either the University of Alberta or MacEwan University. Then, when he has acquired enough experience, he would like to open his own accounting firm. Through his involvement with the Company Program, Shishir is definitely laying the groundwork for future success.