The next gen­er­a­tion of entre­pre­neurs con­verges on the North­eastern campus this week to take part in the 2009 North Amer­ican Junior Achieve­ment (JA) Stu­dent Com­pany of the Year Com­pe­ti­tion. Teams of U.S. and Cana­dian high school stu­dents will show­case their com­pa­nies to a panel of judges who will deter­mine the competition’s highest-​​performing team.

In all, 20 five-​​member teams—four of which come from the Boston area—have been chosen for this year’s three-​​day com­pe­ti­tion, which begins on Thursday, July 16. Each team started its own com­pany from the ground up by raising cap­ital, cre­ating a busi­ness plan and mar­keting its products.

On Friday, July 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the teams will con­duct a trade fair in the Curry Stu­dent Center and pitch their com­pa­nies to the local and national busi­ness leaders serving as this year’s judges. Each team will be assessed according to its company’s annual report, a four-​​minute oral pre­sen­ta­tion, the trade-​​booth dis­play and a final inter­view with the judges.

One of the teams com­peting this year has forged a North­eastern con­nec­tion. Through the JA Academy after-​​school pro­gram, a team of met­ro­pol­itan Boston high school stu­dents has been spending one after­noon a week at the uni­ver­sity, soaking up men­tor­ship and diversity-​​training activ­i­ties pro­vided by the Office of Insti­tu­tional Diver­sity and Equity and the Col­lege of Busi­ness Administration.

That team’s com­pany, Pin Pals, made and sold but­tons to raise aware­ness of a variety of global issues, including the economy, water safety and immi­gra­tion. The team is donating a por­tion of their profits to Play­Pumps Inter­na­tional, an orga­ni­za­tion that improves the lives of chil­dren and fam­i­lies by pro­viding easy access to clean drinking water, enhancing public health and giving play equip­ment to mil­lions across Africa.

John Friar, exec­u­tive pro­fessor of entre­pre­neur­ship and inno­va­tion at the Col­lege of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion, will serve on the judging panel. Donnie Perkins, dean and director of the Office of Insti­tu­tional Diver­sity and Equity, serves on the board of JA of Eastern Mass­a­chu­setts and helped bring this event to campus.

The win­ning team will be announced on Sat­urday, July 18at an awards dinner held at Northeastern’s Curry Stu­dent Center.

JA is the world’s largest orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to using expe­ri­en­tial pro­grams to edu­cate young people about work­force readi­ness, entre­pre­neur­ship and finan­cial literacy.