Introducing your 2014 JrEC Academic Challenge Winner!

Disha Patel is the Jr. Economic Club, 2014 Academic Challenge winner! On November 17th, 2014 she and JrEC sponsors joined us as we opened the TSX. Watch her video submission above and read her insight on the importance of financial literacy and personal money management below.

I was learning about financial literacy in Math during the last 3 weeks of school. That’s when I noticed people were barely listening to the teacher; probably relieved by the fact that we weren’t going to be tested on it. Around the same time, prom craze was in full swing. What really disturbed me was that not a single person I knew, bought a prom dress for less than $200. I was surfing on the web when I came across VISA’s prom spending survey. It was then that I knew I had to enter the Jr. Economic Club Academic Challenge so I could help educate other teens about the importance of spending wisely.

When I first saw the amount of money people were spending on prom I was terrified. Especially the stat from VISA’s Personal Money Skills site that claimed that parents with an income of less than $50,000 will spend more than $804 on prom. To me this is shocking because my parents also fall into the same income level. Even though I live a decent life style, I know my parents wouldn’t be able to afford spending $804 on me- just for prom. Even if I was going to chip in half the cost, I would never be comfortable spending that amount of money on just one night. I can think of many other things I could use my money towards. That’s why I included stats in my Academic Challenge video to show how much money people are spending on just one night.

From personal experience, I know that I can’t go a day without my phone. If I don’t have my phone I feel as if there’s a big part of me missing. Most teens have cell phones and this makes the VISA “Planit’ Prom” app very convenient. I found the app to be extremely neat, because it’s both efficient and accessible. I want more people to learn about this app and use to it to help reduce their prom costs.

Creating this video was very fun and I hope everyone understands the true message that financial literacy is very important for teens!

Sincerely,

Disha Patel, 2014 Jr. Economic Club Student of the Year- Age 14

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Michelle Michalak, Head of Financial Literacy at Visa Canada with Disha Patel, Academic Challenge Winner

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Introducing…Jr. ECTV! Coming to Rogers TV Nov. 13, 2014

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On Thursday, November 13th, 2014 tune into Jr. ECTV on Rogers TV!

Jr. ECTV is a show created by The Jr. Economic Club showcasing the opinions, perspectives & ideas of young Torontonians. Hear their perspectives & ideas on current social, business and economic issues. This show gives Toronto’s younger generation a platform to talk about serious world issues, from a fresh perspective. Our goal is to encourage more youth to engage in meaningful conversations about the world around them and the issues that pertain to their future.

The Jr. Economic Club of Canada, is an organization dedicated to inspiring young Canadians to be financially literate, civically engaged and socially conscious.

For more information visit: http://www.rogerstv.com/page.aspx?lid=12&rid=16&sid=6550

Financial literacy of the next generation: My experience as a Mega Mind!

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At the end of August, I had the honour of being a Mega Mind judge in the Jr. Economic Club Bay Street Boot Camp Entrepreneurial Challenge.

The goal of the Jr. Economic Club is to teach Canadian youth about finance basics and personal money management. The five-day Bay Street Boot Camp financial literacy course concluded with the Entrepreneurial Challenge, where 40 Ontario high-school students pitched their business plans to a panel of expert “Mega Minds” who questioned them on their ideas. Other Mega Minds included The Honourable Senator Don Meredith, Minister of State (Finance) Ken Sorenson, newly appointed Financial Literacy Leader Jane Rooney, as well as other industry and government leaders.

I was really impressed with how enthusiastic, creative and bright these young entrepreneurs were. I threw questions their way in an effort to determine how viable their business plans were and they met the challenge head-on. My favourite question was “How will you make money?” The responses were interesting!

During my day as a Mega Mind, I heard a variety of interesting pitch ideas. A few highlights include:

  • a grocery shopping and meal planning smartphone app,
  • an online clothing store for up and coming designers,
  • a portable battery powered by wind and solar energy, ideal for vehicles and camping, and
  • a bracelet for the deaf and hearing impaired that detects warning sounds (i.e. fire alarms) and notifies the user though vibrations and colour changes.

My personal favourite was a product called AirCharge, an innovative smartphone case that converts radio waves to electricity to charge your mobile device on-the-go. This was my #1 choice for a few reasons. If this product was to make it to market, I would buy it myself. It meets a realistic need and is a niche market that has yet to be satisfied. The presentation the two students gave was exceptional. They played to their strengths, with one student giving a dynamic and energetic presentation and his partner fielding all the technical questions. In fact, it reminded me of the presentation dynamics between Apple visionary Steve Jobs and his second in command, Steve Wozniak. Very impressive for those so young!

I was amazed by the ingenuity and confidence these students demonstrated. If all Canadian youth were extended this same opportunity, I believe the state of financial literacy in Canada would be much brighter.

This experience really resonates with my belief in the importance of financial literacy and it aligns with Sun Life Financial’s mission to help Canadians achieve lifetime financial security. It is critical that we provide the next generation with the knowledge and tools to be successful in business and in personal finances, and organizations like the Jr. Economic Club are able to help make this a reality.

-Rick Headrick, President, Sun Life Global Investments.

Introducing the 2014 BSBC Winners Thomas Stephen & Ahmed Saeed!

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This week was one of the most intense yet best experiences of my life so far. When the week started I had no idea what to expect. On the first day we chose our partners and were tasked with coming up with a business idea and then pitch that idea to the VIP dragons.

Throughout the week we learned about financial markets, meditational tactics for the office space, prepping for a job interview, dressing for success and most importantly, how to create a top-notch business plan. My partner and I work day in and day out to create a top-notch business. Winning the first prize was one of the best moments of my life so far, I got to meet some of the most well know CEO’s in the country and actually got a few of their business cards to stay in touch with them!!

The Junior Economic Club of Canada and its sponsors IFIC, FundataSun Life Financial, VISA, Porter, CPA and Scotiabank, provided me with an opportunity to express my interests as well as they connected me with people that have the same interests as my own. The people who run this organization are some of the humblest, kindest most generous people anyone will meet in their entire lives, I am truly grateful for that. From commuting on the GO train into Union Station to meeting the CEO’s of some of the most well know companies in Canada. It was a once – in – a – lifetime experience!!

Yours Truly,

Thomas Stephen with support of co-winner Ahmed Saeed.

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A word from the 2013 BSBC winners!

SUNLIFE2013As two first nation women, we were invited to attend the Junior Economic Club of Canada’s Bay Street Boot Camp. Unaware of what the week was going to entitle, we travelled from Rama First Nation to the big city of Toronto. The early mornings, business attire and morning Starbucks trips made us feel as if we were in the real world. It was once in a lifetime opportunity.

The entire week was preparation for our final pitch day. Our pitch idea was to create a generator that converted water pressure into electricity that could potentially be used for small electronics. The night before the pitch day, our hotel room was scattered with paper scraps, glue sticks and markers. Come pitch day, the pressure was on. We could feel the tension in every room.

The Junior Economic Club BSBC is an experience that will benefit you for the rest of your life. The friends we have made, the skills we have gained, and the networks we have built with the help of all Jr ECC members will carry on with us in our future endeavors. We hope that this year’s BSBC campers have taken every opportunity to grow through BSBC, whether it was stepping out of your comfort zone, finding a new value, or developing a skill. They say “the world is your oyster” and that couldn’t be more true. Good luck to all delegates, continue to make the most of the opportunities that come your way!

Kirstin Shilling and Teresa Harrigan, BSBC Co-Winners 2013

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Sweatpants, Health & Wealth!

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This week has been unforgettable. Thursday we were asked to dress down and wear sweatpants so we could relax and collect ourselves. So far we’ve met some amazing, inspirational CEO’s, leaders and entrepreneurs. On Thursday, we kicked things off with Rhiannon Traill, who told us a bit about how the Economic Club of Canada was started and how she got to where she is today.

Next we moved onto the importance of Financial Wealth and Health. In my opinion the best part of the day was getting to play Sun Life Financials game “Your Money, Your Wellness.” In playing this game we realized how big of a role health plays is in regards to wealth. If you fall ill because you aren’t healthy, then you can’t go to work and earn money!

I would like to thank Sun Life Financial for the great Colombia sweaters that some of us received for winning the challenge! The day continued on the topic of how health is connected to future wealth. Rene Lecker discussed the impact of bullying on a person’s health and gave us a deeper understanding of how bullying effects you both emotionally and physically. We shared our own experiences on being bullied during this exercise. It was great how comfortable we were with sharing and it really goes to show how we have became a tight knit group within just one week.

The next activity was lead by Stefani Lecker, who us through a session about “mindful meditation” and letting negativity go to feel positive and confident. She taught us some techniques on how to clear our minds so we could concentrate more on the tasks ahead.

Yoga was next on the agenda and was presented by Andrew Moniz owner of Bikram Yoga. We learned some great moves leave us feeling refreshed and energized. Yoga was a lot of fun and interactive as was our workshop presented by Marcia Cunningham and John Gregory. They taught us the art of speaking to an audience and during a one-on-one conversation. This will be beneficial for the pitches we will be giving to the Mega-Minds on Friday. All in all there was a lot to learn on Thursday and I think we all enjoyed unwinding a little before our big presentations.

-Michelle Ragany, BSBC Student 2014

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