Spark Hampton Roads is the region's premiere suite of youth entrepreneurship programs, featuring the JA Company Program, two marquee events, and JA Launch Lesson.

JA Company Program

Junior Achievement's flagship program challenges high school students to work together to launch their own startup.  Through 13 modules, exceptional mentors guide companies from cradle to grave: from ideation to capitalization; from production to liquidation.  A novel blended learning approach gives students 24/7 access to the program and encounters with cutting edge authentic entrepreneurial experiences, including crowdfunding and e-


Spark Hampton Roads - High School Entrepreneurship

Each year, Virginia Beach and Norfolk high school students venture into the real, high stakes world of business in their Advanced Entrepreneurship & Innovation course.  At the heart of the curriculum:  the JA Company Program.

Over the course of six months, mentor teams comprised of dynamic Hampton Roads entrepreneurs and business leaders guide student companies through the triumphs and challenges of running a startup. Each of the teams develops a product and tests their mettle on the market and at our Spark Hampton Roads LEAP and Light Speed events.

The journey begins anew in September.  We are looking for businesses and entrepreneurs to mentor the next generation of student startups.  Find out how you can be involved.

2018 JA Company of the Year for Hampton Roads:

The Find It of Kellam High School.

Commercial Video

One-minute commercial videos to showcase student companies' products and marketing wherewithal

Top Commercial: Cookie Creations | Cox High School

innovation award

Awarded to the company that displayed the most innovation

Innovation: 5tay Charged | Lake Taylor High School



A LEAP forward with Hatch

On November 16, 2017, we partnered with Hatch, Norfolk's premier startup accelerator and resource aggregator, to bring Spark Hampton Roads students an unmatched event experience.  Hatch founder Zack Miller shared his popular LEAP Business Obstacle Course with Spark Hampton Roads participants, energizing them with new skills, fresh challenges, and a chance to create a playbook leading to business success.

Students LEARNED new skills, EXECUTED those skills in extemporaneous challenges, ADAPTED them to their own business contexts, and will now PUT THEM TO WORK according to their action plan.


Participants navigated 5 obstacles:

Pitching | Innovating | Branding | Social Media | Sales

Challenges included rapid prototyping with LEGO bricks (over 40 pounds of LEGOs were acquired for the event), a race to 25 "likes" via social media marketing, lightning round elevator pitches, and more.

Students from Virginia Beach's Kempsville, Cox, and Green Run High Schools took home seed funding for their winning sales pitches.

Learn more about LEAP at startwithhatch.com.


2017 JA Company of the Year for Hampton Roads:

Focus 360 of Kempsville Entrepreneurship and Business Academy

Business Presentations

Student companies pitched their businesses for four minutes and responded to 4 minutes of Q&A with a panel of VIP Judges

Top Presentation: Focus 360 | Kempsville Entrepreneurship and Business Academy

Light Speed Expo

A trade-fair-style expo assessed by a panel of VIP judges

Expo Grand Prize: Focus 360 | Kempsville Entrepreneurship and Business Academy

Commercial Video

One-minute commercial videos to showcase student companies' products and marketing wherewithal

Top Commercial: VB Pockets | Kellam High School

Annual Report

Each student venture submitted a final report of their activities, accomplishments, and lessons learned

Top Annual Report: VB Pockets | Kellam High School

Light Speed Dating

A speed-dating-style, round robin elevator pitch competition

Winner: Ink, Inc. | Cox High School