CCA student business receives award at national Junior Achievement summit

CocoLoco's Shaan Garg, Daniella Addeo Cortes and Noah Benhaim with Congressman Scott Peters in Washington D.C.
CocoLoco’s Shaan Garg, Daniella Addeo Cortes and Noah Benhaim with Congressman Scott Peters in Washington D.C.
(Junior Achievement)

The Canyon Crest Academy student-run business CocoLoco, which repurposes coconut shells to create succulent planters and candles, recently won the 2023 Global Possibilities Award at the Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit in Washington D.C.

Canyon Crest student entrepreuneurs Daniella Addeo Cortes, Noah Benhaim, and Shaan Garg comprised one of 15 teams from across the country to present their businesses at the summit.

The award, presented by FedEx, recognized the student-run business that best exhibits the principles of global connectivity, which include innovation, sustainability and social responsibility.

“Winning the FedEx Global Possibilities Award and representing Canyon Crest Academy at the JA Student Summit Nationals in Washington D.C. has been an incredible journey for our team,” said Daniella in a news release. “It’s a testament to our shared vision of environmental sustainability and global connectivity.”

CocoLoco placed second at the San Diego regional JA Company Program competition before being selected for the national summit. In D.C., the CocoLoco team presented their business model to a FedEx panel for evaluation. They shared how they source coconut shells from Vietnam and the Philippines, where there is a surplus of shells polluting those areas and how they take pride in supporting local economies by sourcing succulents and soil from a local San Diego nursery. CocoLoco also values giving back to the community as 10% of proceeds are donated to Cancer for College, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to cancer survivors.

“CocoLoco embraced the concept of global access by having the power to transform industries, connect diverse markets, and drive sustainable growth,” said Sidd Vivek, JA San Diego president and CEO in a news release. “By leveraging the opportunities presented by global connectivity, these young entrepreneurs can create innovative solutions that transcend borders, foster inclusive economic development, and make a positive impact on a global scale.”

During the June 11-15 summit, the student-run companies participated in seminars led by national experts in innovation, entrepreneurship and business. They also got to check out the nation’s capitol.

”Exploring Washington DC, engaging with industry experts, and presenting our business to a panel of judges was a transformative experience,” said Noah.

While in D.C., local San Diego Congressman Scott Peters met with the students and welcomed them to Capitol Hill: “Being invited by Congressman Scott Peters to witness the voting firsthand at Capitol Hill was an honor,” Shaan said.