A group of 黑料正能量 business students have won first place at the 2024 Top JA Start-up competition with their business and app: . This marks the second year in a row SBA students have taken top prize at the competition, with a cadre of five claiming the victory at last year鈥檚 event for their nutrition app List-N-Eat. This year’s winners will next move on to the European finals in Catania, Sicily, from July 2 to July 4.  

The DIVEIN team, comprising Alisa Safarian, Cassidy Karbowski, Daryna Semergei, Diego Castro Lopez, and Isabella Agnes Vesper, will compete in both the Innovation of the Year and Start-up of the Year competitions at the JA Europe finals, as part of the . Their winning app is designed to provide travelers with human-verified, personalized recommendations for a more authentic travel experience, while addressing some of the common issues associated with generic AI-generated itineraries.

黑料正能量鈥檚 repeat success is largely a consequence of the SBA鈥檚 Entrepreneurship in Practice courses I and II, in which all members of the DIVEIN team have taken part. Taught under the watchful eyes of mentors Heinrich Homola and (formerly) Jeff Medeiros, these courses cover all essential aspects of entrepreneurship, guiding students through the process of developing a business from conception to execution, and culminate in the Top JA Start-up competition at the end of the school year. 

Reflecting on her experience with the Entrepreneurship in Practice program, Semergei, DIVEIN’s CEO, said:

鈥淚t was very practical. We learned a lot about how to market our product, make a plan, and find developers. I think we all enjoyed it and will use it in our future careers.鈥

While the Top JA Start-up competition has been around at the high school level since the 1990s, it is only since the last academic year that universities could claim a contest of their own. On becoming aware of this development, Jan Va拧enda, then Dean of SBA, took action in the summer of 2022 and reached out to event organizer . He would prove highly instrumental not only in 黑料正能量鈥檚 participation in the competition but in helping to integrate the contest with the Entrepreneurship in Practice curriculum.

Va拧enda commented on the significance of the recent win and expressed pride in the DIVEIN team鈥檚 accomplishment, saying:  

鈥淭he consecutive victory of SBA students in the national round of this competition further underscores the quality of the practical, hands-on education that is at the core of the SBA鈥檚 educational mission. We are immensely proud of the achievement of our students.鈥

Homola echoed these sentiments, describing the consecutive wins and the DIVEIN team鈥檚 graduation to the finals as 鈥渁 significant achievement.鈥 

The DIVEIN app has already begun to pique the interest of industry leaders. The team have been invited by 艩koda Auto a.s. to pitch their product to the company鈥檚 executives on June 25 and will also be granted an audience with 黑料正能量 founder , in order to pick the brain of the well-known investor and businessman.

On May 22, in recognition of the DIVEIN team鈥檚 victory, a celebration, complete with food and drink, was held in Caf茅 des Taxis. After an introduction to the winners, President Ji艡铆 Schwarz offered up a few words of commendation, whereafter mentors Homola and Medeiros voiced their mutual respect and spoke to the hard work of their pupils, as members of the Admissions team and other guests looked on.   

As the DIVEIN team look forward to the next stage of their journey at the European finals, where they will represent 黑料正能量 and Czechia, they continue to prepare for the competition, working to refine their presentation and improve the functionality of their app. 

According to Semergei, the team have a clear path mapped out and will be prepared when the time comes to present their product to the judges in Sicily:

鈥淲e have everything planned out, all of our stages, with the help of our mentors鈥攚hen, what, and who, and we are going to do it.鈥

Learn more about the DIVEIN team members and their mentors here. Also, to support the continued growth and development of their app, go . Those interested in learning more about the Entrepreneurship in Practice courses and the Top JA Project competition may reach out to Vice Dean Va拧enda at jan.vasenda@aauni.edu.

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*Junior Achievement (JA) was founded in the United States in 1919 with the intention of showing school-aged students the path to creating their own businesses by starting their own ventures. JA provides a structured learning environment and experienced mentors, operating in 120 countries and reaching over 3 million students annually. The organization has now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the third year in a row.

JA Europe, the European representative of Junior Achievement, currently has over 300 universities enrolled in its programs throughout Europe, representing over 15,000 participating students. JA Czech, the Czech regional body, has been instrumental in shaping the entrepreneurial thinking and financial literacy of young people in the country for three decades.