Posted by Jonathan Hobbs
JA LaunchU! is an immersive and guided startup experience where students gain the skills needed to launch their own business startup. With the help of a JA Entrepreneur in Residence, coaching by volunteer entrepreneurs and business leaders, and a startup guidebook, students will launch and manage their own businesses.
With the financial and volunteer support of Minneapolis City of Lakes Rotary, JA LaunchU! will be creating its first ever Female Founders cohort – fostering a creative, supportive, and inspiring environment for an all-female-student group. This cohort of 20-25 8th-12th grade students will embark on their 26-week program between November 2021 and May 2022. At the end of the program, students will have the opportunity to continue with their company as a fully functioning startup business – or to liquidate their business and move on to new opportunities.
Volunteers are essential to the success of JA LaunchU! and share important guidance & coaching for the student entrepreneurs. Three main categories of volunteers are needed at various points in the program; each volunteer experience is a ~2 hour commitment. 
1) Subject Matter Experts: Share your expertise on startup-related topics to the whole cohort during a Q&A and breakout session. Topics include budgeting, developing a business plan, prototyping, and more.
2) Workshop Mentors: Work closely with a single startup group during a Workshop as they navigate unique challenges and opportunities for growth specific to their own business. For example, a volunteer that is skilled in marketing will be assigned to a team that is seeking insights on how to improve their startup marketing.
3) Competition Judge: Play the role of a judge in events like JA PitchFest or JA Company of the Year to provide real feedback to student-run companies and their startup pitches.
Volunteers will be needed starting in December. Stay tuned for further communications, and please reach out to Sam Keyes with any questions!