September 12, 2008

High-Schoolers Try Hand at Global Business


Perhaps JA Worldwide should have allowed this year's hosts of its annual Global Business Competition to participate as well -- they could probably use the $3,000 cash prize to make ends meet once they are laid off next year.

Hewlett-Packard Co. provided the prize and hosted the final round of the contest at its Rockrimmon complex, the first time in the 12 years of the competition it has been held in Colorado Springs, which also is home to JA Worldwide's headquarters.

About 950 Springs HP employees had to agree by Aug. 15 to move to Fort Collins, Arkansas, New Mexico or Texas to keep their jobs; those who refused likely will get laid off sometime next year.

Two-person teams of high school students from Alabama, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Canada, Estonia, Hong Kong, Lithuania and Poland act as chief executives of manufacturing companies in an online simulation and try to outperform one another in profit, sales and market share by reading and interpreting financial reports to determine prices and production levels, plan marketing and research budgets and decide how much to invest in equipment.

The winning team was from Lithuania, continuing a longtime trend of teams from former Soviet-bloc nations taking the top prize. Last year, a team from Azerbaijan won. The competition started in February with 238 teams and completed two rounds before last week's finals.

HP also announced a $1 million grant last week for continued support of the competition, a new competition for student company of the year in North America and for computers that will be used by JA Worldwide as part of a new information-management system to track and share data about students, volunteers and fundraising.

(c) 2008 Gazette, The; Colorado Springs, Colo.. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.