Jayda Martin is one of 4 to compete in Your Crazy Idea state finals
Posted on 03/25/2021

Edna Karr Junior Jayda Martin will be the first public school contestant to compete in the state finals of Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans’ Trust your Crazy Ideas challenge tomorrow. If she wins, she’ll bring home $10,000 and a total of $7,500 for Karr.

Jayda made history this spring by being the first public school student to win the local New Orleans competition, where she received $5,000 in scholarships, $2,500 for Karr, and free Chick-Fil-A for herself for a year.

Jayda Martin“It was crazy,” she said upon hearing of her win. “I got the email and it consisted of feedback and what I can do for the next level of the competition, but I couldn’t even read it. All I saw was ‘Congrats: First Place.’ I didn’t even read the rest of the email. I was stoked. I screamed for maybe an hour and almost lost my voice.”

More than 2,3000 students submitted ideas to the competition last fall, with 20 being selected as semi-finalists. Now, four face off for the state title.

“This moment is absolutely paramount in the educational landscape of New Orleans, not just for the Edna Karr family and the InspireNOLA network, but scholars across this city to believe that nothing is unattainable, and your biggest dreams are achievable,” said Karr Administrator Edward Carter. “We are beyond proud of Jay and the great work she is doing for her school, city, and community.”

The Trust Your Crazy Ideas Challenge starts in the classroom during the Fall semester. Students can trust their own “Crazy Ideas” by creating a business plan, which they can then submit in order to be considered for a spot as a semi-finalist.

Jayda’s journey began as an assignment for her ACT teacher to submit Your Crazy Idea and why it was better than the competition and ideas that were already out there.

“I had no idea about it being a competition or a scholarship opportunity. I just answered a series of questions and turned it in as an assignment,” she said.

Inspiration for her idea, “Home Drone: The Next Level of Cleaning Technology,” struck in the early hours of the morning. Her proposition is a drone designed to pick up trash and recycling to help clean up the city after events such as Mardi Gras parades and music festivals.

“This drone is guaranteed to make the city look it’s best for tourists and residents,” she said in her pitch. “Whether it’s your actual city or the city you call home, Home Drone has you covered.”

After being chosen as a semi-finalist, Jayda was invited to participate in the Idea Accelerator workshop series. At these workshops, students heard from local entrepreneurs about marketing, manufacturing, funding, and more.  Jayda was paired with a mentor to help her develop a pitch, a pitch deck, and a commercial for her Crazy Idea.

“We built out our idea through these workshops. For example, one week we had to submit a pitch deck; the next week we had to submit a pitch video. We had to create a commercial,” she said.

Jayda said she felt a little intimidated because there were a lot of other competitors who had more experience, but she said she had people to push her.

“I had people around me that believed in me more than I believed in myself,” she said.

They were right. Not only did Jayda’s pitch commercial win the Viral Voting competition during the workshop series, it also garnering the greatest number of views on a commercial that they ever had in the eight-year history of the program. Her video can be viewed on YouTube.

Jayda said the joy of her victory isn’t about the money but taking that a step and knowing that she actually could do it.

“It was a wild ride! From thinking I can’t do something to blowing it out of the water – I literally had a near perfect score – it was crazy. I learned when God has something for you, it's yours. It doesn't matter your experience or where you come from. If you want it, it's yours. That was a big learning experience for me,” she said. "I owe this victory to Him because I’m nothing and I can do absolutely nothing without Him!"

After celebrating her local victory, she got to work preparing for the state championship.

“My mentor said ‘you never stop at what you have now, you always look at what’s coming next’,” she said, adding they took the feedback from the judges and worked all night rerecording the pitch and submitting a new video.

“Some things don’t just come to you,” she said. “Some things you have to work for.”

Though she admitted to having self-doubts, when she submitted her video, she received nothing but praise.

“They thought it was perfect. They didn’t have any questions. That was shocking to me,” she said.

Sam McCabe, the Impact Manager for Entrepreneurship Pathways Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans, has full confidence in Jayda.

“We had an absolute blast working with her this spring, and it has been incredibly impressive to watch her ‘Home Drone’ idea go from being simply an idea to being the fully fleshed-out business plan and pitch that she has put together,” he said. “We are so excited to have her as our local champion, and we’re all rooting for her to knock it out of the park tomorrow!”

Her revised video will premier live tomorrow at the competition.

“At one point, I did not believe in myself. Now these things are unfolding, it’s more than I could ever ask for,” she said. “As of now, I am totally confident,” she said. “I believe I am bringing home this win.”

Jayda will compete against local winners from Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport tomorrow for the state title. The Statewide Winner will earn $10,000 in scholarships and $5,000 for their school. The three Statewide Runners-Up will earn $2,500 in scholarships and $2,500 for their school. The competition will be live streamed from 10:30 a.m. to noon for free on the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week website at www.noew.org as part of their international entrepreneurship conference.