June 21, 2021 – Student Company Restorit is the recipient of JA British Columbia’s 2021 Celebrate Entrepreneurship Award. This $3,000 award is sponsored by CIBC and recognizes excellence in teamwork and cooperation, creativity and innovation, profitability and viability, and outstanding planning and operation of a JA Student Company.  

This student company came together in the Fall of 2020 as part of the 16-week after school JA Company Program.  In the 2020-21 school year, high school students from all over B.C. were placed in teams, and met via virtual platforms, to collaborate and build their own start-up. All the student companies were asked to tackle one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals that address global challenges.  

The newly formed Restorit team, with students from the Lower Mainland and Victoria, chose to address goal #12 Responsible Consumption and Reduction by encouraging waste reduction. Their business idea was to upcycle unwanted books into multifunctional and decorative storage boxes, keeping them out of landfills. These handcrafted Restorit book boxes are customizable with hidden compartments within them to store valuable items, like jewelry or money. 

Why give a new life to discarded books? Although books are made of paper, they are often not recyclable. Many book covers are plastic and the glue embedded in the binding requires special disposal. This means thousands of tonnes of books are tossed away annually.   

Hardcover books are usually just thrown away and are expensive to dispose of,” said Mrs. Gladwin, a B.C. high school librarian. “Disposal companies usually charge $1/pound, costing already underfunded school libraries valuable resources. The environmental benefits also go without saying. The fact that these books are being taken off our hands and used productively is very helpful to us all!” 

“After the JA Company Program, we feel much more prepared and inspired for our future goals because of everything we have learned in this program,” said Joanne Ying, Restorit President, and student at Moscrop Secondary School in Burnaby. Estelle Pu, VP of Production and Director of Finance, said, “My passion and commitment to our company have allowed me to overcome my fear of public speaking and strengthen my skills as a leader.”  

As well, the team learned about the importance of giving back to their community. Restorit donated 60% of their profits to Frontier College, a charity focused on improving the literary and numerical skills of all Canadians.  

Estelle Pu, from Killarney Secondary in Vancouver, is also the recipient of the 2021 JA Canada Al Beech Memorial Award. This $2,000 award recognizes the outstanding individual achievement and personal development of a graduating Achiever. 

Congratulations Restorit!  View their video here: https://youtu.be/r8GbE3QhNDs