PDMS' Joanne and Nick judge JAIOM Company Programme 2019

PDMS' Marketing Director, Joanne Pontee and Front End Developer, Nick Collins joined a panel of local business leaders to judge the 2019 Junior Achievement (JA) Company Programme. 

The Company Programme Trade Show took place on Wednesday 6th March, 2019 at the Palace Hotel in Douglas, Isle of Man. Jo and Nick were joined by fellow judges; Katie Nicholson (Bridge IOM), Simon Nichols (KPMG), Helen Summerscales (Isle of Man Advertising & PR) Alex Thomson (Hamblin Ltd), Judith Craine (Taxmann), Adrian Moore (IOM Aerospace Cluster), Richard Macnee (ILS World) and Gail Yeowell (SMART HR). 

Jo and Nick at JA

- About the JA Company Programme 

Throughout the challenge, each Company Programme student group was required to pitch their concept and show their product development to date through a series of judges panel interviews and presentations. Students wowed the judges this year, presenting a range of business ideas from environmentally friendly bathroom products to innovative technological solutions such as a trackable key ring - one very creative group Zeta gave their whole presentation in song form

On the final day of the competition, the student companies opened their doors to the public, inviting them to visit the trade show and purchase their products before the judges round-up and presentation of the Junior Achievement Isle of Man Student Company of the Year Winner. 

As Marketing Director, Jo was able to apply her expertise in sales and marketing and provide the student companies with insightful feedback. Jo commented:

"The standard of the entries this year was really high with some great products and fantastic teams. I really enjoy judging the Company Programme as I get to see first hand how far our young people have progressed throughout their JA journey - learning not just about business but themselves in the process".

Nick Collins is a Junior Achievement veteran, as a previous Company Programme winner himself which lead on to volunteering with JA around the world. He is passionate about inspiring young adults and a valuable member of the judging panel; 

"Every year, the Company of the Year Competition just gets better and better. Students are coming up with more innovative ideas and delivering stand out sales presentations. This year it was clear students focused on environmentally friendly products as it’s been a big topic this year." 

Nick first became involved with JA when his own student company won the Isle of Man round and jetted off to the JA Europe finals -  leading Nick to secure an internship with the JA IOM team after leaving school, before joining PDMS' design team one year later. In addition to his involvement on the Island, Nick is also Operations Manager at JA Alumni Europe, which regularly sees him travelling abroad including Malta, Vienna and Berlin. Nick co-founded JA IOM Alumni and held the position of National Coordinator before he passed on the mantle to PDMS' Tom Clague in 2018 to work on the Global Alumni Project with JA Worldwide. Nick commented: 

"JA has given me incredible experiences, friendships and opportunities, but most of all provided me with a supportive environment which allowed me to grow as a person.

Being involved with JA over the past four years has had a significant impact on my life. It transformed me from someone who was shy, quiet and nervous into someone who is much more confident and sociable. Every year, it just gets better and better!"

PDMS Apprentice Software Developer, Tom Clague also attended the Company Programme event as National Coordinator for JA IOM Alumni. The alumni members were present on the day to encourage the budding student entrepreneurs who have taken part in the JA Company Programme to join the alumni network.  

Tom Clague with JA Alumni Isle of Man


Tom Clague, pictured left, with JA Alumni Isle of Man 


- Congratulations to Student Company of the Year, Gravity!

The awards ceremony which revealed this year's Student Company of the Year winners took place on Wednesday 13th March at the Villa Marina, Douglas. The winning team Gravity will travel to Lille in France to represent the Isle of Man and compete in the JA European finals in July 2019.

JA IOM pulled out all of the stops for this year's award ceremony to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Junior Achievement worldwide, hosting more than 300 guests and supporters of Junior Achievement, including putting on a show with the Secret Singers - Singing Waiters surprising dinner guests on the night with performances between courses. 

The business idea from winning team Gravity, a team from Ballakermeen High School was Bambrush, was an eco-friendly toothbrush made from bamboo and natural fibres. At the trade stand exhibition the team had also introduced a new product - Bambud, an eco-friendly earbud.

Gravity’s Jasmine Coligon said:

"The Company Programme is a brilliant opportunity to learn how to run a business. I’ve also made four great new friends. When we started some seven months ago we had no idea how to go about starting a business but as the months went on we were able drew on our different skills to make a really strong team. Now, if anyone were to ask me if they should enter the Company Programme, I’d say go for it”.

Are you interested in becoming a Company Programme mentor? Visit www.jaiom.im for more information.