updated 5/24/2011 11:16:37 AM ET 2011-05-24T15:16:37

NEW YORK, May 24, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Money never starts an idea. It is always "the idea" that starts the money. This spring, more than 900 NYC and Long Island students are participating in an eight-week business plan writing boot-camp with the ultimate goal of devising the next winning business idea that could put them on the pathway to success.

Together with The NASDAQ OMX Education Foundation, Junior Achievement of New York has invested in a rigorous business education program for high school students – the JA New York Business Plan Competition (BPC). At the end of a class-room based boot-camp process, student teams compete in several competition rounds, pitching their business ideas against those of their peers. This year, a record number of 185 business plans were submitted by over 800 NYC and Long Island high school students for initial consideration. This is the largest pool of student submissions in the history of the four-year-old program. A panel of top business executives, entrepreneurs and investors will judge the final round of the competition, which will take place on June 2nd at the NASDAQ MarketSite, Times Square. The top three student teams will receive monetary awards ranging from $1,000-$3,000 per team member.

The Business Plan Competition is the brainchild of JA New York Board Member Chris Andersen.  A former JA student himself, Andersen wanted to give today's generation of budding entrepreneurs something similar to the experience that launched him on his own successful career in finance.  With a generous seed gift, he challenged JA New York to conceive a program that would help students learn what it takes to develop a real business; where students would receive the fundamentals of how businesses are conceived, developed and managed. The result:  the Junior Achievement Business Plan Competition.

BPC shows young people how to apply what they learn in school to real-life business situations. The BPC curriculum also enhances critical academic and professional development skills that set students up for life-long success such as: working in and managing teams, research, communications and presentation skills. Through Junior Achievement's experiential entrepreneurship education programs, including and apart from the Business competition, students receive real-world work experience helping them become prepared and confident to dive into their future professional careers as innovators, businesspeople and problem solvers.

"There's a huge demand at the high school level for educational programs that are rigorous, relevant and can be applied in the real world. Junior Achievement of New York's signature Business Plan Competition aims to engage and empower students with meaningful academic, business and entrepreneurial curricula and experiences that help them understand how companies are formed and the different roles and skill sets necessary for a business to succeed. Ultimately students learn that it takes more than just a good idea to succeed in business and in life," said Joseph A. Peri, President, Junior Achievement of New York. "We value our partnership with The NASDAQ OMX Education Foundation and our association with business and educational supporters. Together we provide young people with a real chance to put great ideas into action within a structured learning environment where they can develop their potential and confidence to grow into successful and productive citizens."

The NASDAQ OMX Education Foundation, Inc. is a long-time supporter of business innovation and financial education, specifically as it relates to the future of the global and American economies in the 21st century. Their support of the JA New York Business Plan Competition reaffirms their commitment in investing guidance in the next generation of young business leaders to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.

"NASDAQ OMX is where homegrown companies offer their vision to the public marketplace fueling capital formation and job growth. As corporate citizens, NASDAQ OMX is also responsible for supporting the young entrepreneurs of New York who will someday become the visionaries that drive our economy," said Joan Conley, Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary at The NASDAQ OMX Group. "The JA New York Business Plan Competition has nurtured the entrepreneurial spirit of high school students with guidance on how to launch a successful company. We're thrilled to partner with these students who will become our business leaders in New York and across the globe."

JA New York is also grateful for the generous support of in-kind partners Angelsoft, AT&T, iMentor and Columbia Business School.

About Junior Achievement of New York

For more than 80 years, Junior Achievement of New York (JA New York), the local affiliate of JA USA, has delivered economic education and empowerment programs to NYC and Long Island students. Through a dedicated volunteer network of corporate and community individuals, JA New York provides high-quality K-12 in-school, after-school, and summer educational programs. JA New York educational programs impact important societal issues including youth development, economic development, and education reform, and focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. For more information about JA New York and its programs, visit www.jany.org .

About The NASDAQ OMX Education Foundation:

The mission of The NASDAQ OMX Educational Foundation is to promote learning about capital formation, financial markets and entrepreneurship through innovative educational programs. It was established in New York City in 1994 and is supported entirely by contributions from The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

NDAQG

CONTACT: PRESS CONTACT
         Jacqueline Dolly
         Junior Achievement of New York
         (212) 907-0046 (office)
         jdolly@jany.org
         
         Robert Madden
         The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.
         (646) 441-5045 (office)
         (347) 740-8191 (mobile)
         Robert.Madden@NASDAQOMX.com

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