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Teen turned entrepreneur: Alberta students create innovative eco-friendly products

Alberta students create eco-friendly businesses from the ground up
WATCH: It's a push for a sustainable future from the teens who will be living in it. Calgary and Airdrie students from Grades 9 to 12 have come up with eco-friendly products and are learning to build their own business along the way. Lauren Pullen reports.

Innovative ideas can come at any age — at least, that’s what about 600 Calgary teenagers have proven.

Calgary and Airdrie students from Grades 9 to 12 have created eco-friendly everyday products and now they’re marketing those products to you.

They are all members of the Company Program, a free program for high school students focused on building a business from the ground floor — first coming up with a product idea, then developing and selling that product.

READ MORE: Calgary-based MgO Systems awarded $1-million grant for reducing plastic pollution

The 18-week program is put on by Junior Achievement Southern Alberta.

“They come up with a product or service, produce it, make a business plan, market it, make a website or logo and at the end of the year, they liquidate down and learn the pipeline of making your own business,” Junior Achievement high school program manager Kristen Scott said.

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“It’s pretty incredible. Honestly, they blow me out of the water every single year.”

Calgary and Airdrie students from Grades 9 to 12 have created eco-friendly products as part of an 18-week program.
Calgary and Airdrie students from Grades 9 to 12 have created eco-friendly products as part of an 18-week program. Global News

Some ideas are pretty forward-thinking — not only eliminating waste but also made to last.

“The dryer ball basically is a ball that’s made [of] wool and it replaces dryer sheets as it can absorb static electricity, reduce drying time and soften clothes in the dryer. So basically, we want to help people reduce their environmental impact and how much electricity they use,” said Duomi Ding, a Grade 12 student and one of the creators of Jä​rn.
“On the inside, we use recycled yarn from donated sweaters or [donated yarn]… On the outside, we use pure wool so it can absorb static better.

“They last up to 750 uses in the dryer. Basically, that’s seven years if you do two loads a week.”

READ MORE: Sustainable art and design: How Calgary artists, entrepreneurs are repurposing and upcycling

That was just one of several products showcased at the Company Program trade show at CrossIron Mills mall on Saturday afternoon.

Students were not only selling their products but also sharing their experiences with the program.

“This is such a fun experience where I get to learn so much about business,” Grade 12 student Sharmelle Brunet said. “[My favourite part is] just being able to see my ideas come to fruition and just being part of something bigger than myself.”

For a look at all the products the students produced, you can head to the Junior Achievement Southern Alberta Instagram page.