November 11, 2021

Jam City Toronto & Power Unit Youth: Empowering the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Blog, Jam City

Over the summer of 2021, our Jam City Toronto team partnered with a local youth organization called Power Unit Youth to compete in their annual business competition for students: The E3 Challenge!

To be eligible to participate, students between grade 10 through sophomore year of university were organized into groups, and five teams came together to pitch their solutions to our Jam City challenge. We asked these teams to pitch a new feature for Bingo Pop, a leading mobile game developed by our Toronto office.

Jam Citizen Andy Wong, a User Acquisition Manager in our Toronto studio, spearheaded the competition on behalf of Jam City and shared details of what proved to be an incredible learning experience for both the Toronto team and the students involved. 

What is the  E3 Challenge and who is it for?

The E3 Challenge is hosted by a Youth Organization called Power Unit Youth Organization, with the E3 Challenge being part of their youth development & empowerment initiatives. The three Es in “E3” stand for Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, & Excellence. 

The challenge is composed of five teams of five youths each, and each team is paired with two Peer Advisors (working professionals) and a Mentor (a more senior working professional) who can help guide them through the challenges, help them learn business and life approaches, and provide them insights into their experiences to help with their future academic and career choices. The entire challenge took place over July and August of 2021.

Three partners for the competition are chosen each year, representing three different challenges. Jam City was selected as a partner after a fruitful experience working with us on this project two years ago before the pandemic. 

Can you share details on how this competition came to be? 

Earlier in my career, I had volunteered some of my own time and limited experience in UA marketing. I heard a lot of positive feedback on how it was such a good experience for the participants, and we were really pleased when the E3 organizers approached us again this year for this year’s competition.

From my conversations with Power Unit Youth, they were really excited to have the opportunity to work with a gaming company as most of their past partners skewed more corporate and far from any entertainment vertical. They were doubly excited to be working with us as a mobile gaming partner, since we double as a tech company, helping their participants glean some insights into what a technology and entertainment business is like and the real-life challenges we face that aren’t found in the standard case studies taught in their schools traditionally focused around traditional CPG or finance companies. 

This year I tried to provide a different perspective and challenge outside of my narrow scope by inviting folks from different departments, with a focus on Product Improvement. We had team members from our Toronto office help compose the challenge and evaluate the pitches from our Product, Data Science, & Art departments in conjunction with myself from our UA team. I strongly believe it was consequently a much better educational experience and holistic case. 

Why did Jam City decide to work with the Power Unit Youth organization?

E3’s organizing team had reached out to us as they had previously enjoyed working with our team on a case two years ago. I personally enjoyed the experience as well, and as an alumnus of the program, I found the program to be very helpful in assisting me with my career choice in marketing. It also helped me overcome “stage fright” and I eventually learned to enjoy presenting in business settings. I still have strong connections with my mentors, and I believe the program is a great way to connect for mentorship programs and for network-building.

How does the competition work and how are the winners selected? 

The evaluation process involves both judges from Jam City and the Mentors & Organizing team members from the E3 Competition. 

The teams were evaluated based on a rubric both parties worked on together, which included reporting on a product analysis, impact and feasibility report, financial plan, final presentation, and a Q&A period (rubric below). The scores were then aggregated to determine the winning.

Which team won?

The participants were all very impressive and pitched some very unique ideas (Weekend Cherry Rush, Customizable Avatars, Battle-Royale Bingo Nights), and after much deliberation, Team 4 (Apex Association) emerged as the winners! Congratulations!

The team was incredibly impressed by the quality of the presentations and we’re proud to have worked with these youth to both provide them real-life practice and exposure to not just real business challenges we face day-to-day, but insights into the mobile gaming industry at large.

Any chance we’ll see the winners’ concept integrated into Bingo Pop at some point?

The Jam City challenge winners received some fun Jam City swag, but more importantly, the overall winning team out of all three challenges won a $1000 scholarship funded by Power City Youth. Last but definitely not least, our team will integrate a version of the winner’s concepts into Bingo Pop!

Thank you to Andy and to the team over at Power Unit Youth Organization for their amazing collaboration. Our teams looks forward to continuing to partner with local partners who share a vision of empowering the next generation of change makers.