Brings HS Entrepreneurs Closer to Reality
When you were sixteen did you know what a "break-even" point was? Yet on a recent afternoon, at the World Financial Center, high school kids were speaking with ease and confidence about all the aspects that go into creating a business, specifically their own. They may be virtual projects but the execution was very credible.
This was the sixth annual Virtual Enterprises Business Plan Competition Finals organized by the NYC Department of Education's Iris Blanc, Director of Virtual Enterprises and sponsored by Deloitte and Touche's Joseph Delaney, Chair of the Virtual Enterprises Advisory Board. A total of eight groups presented approximately ten-minute business proposals to a panel of judges who took turns asking two questions per group at the end of each presentation. From companies focusing on printing to flower arrangements, the students from eight schools in and around New York City presented their businesses through creative slide shows, speeches and role-playing.
Muriel Siebert, CEO and President of Muriel Siebert & Company, commented on the event, "I'm very proud to be here. Thank you to the Board of Education. Every student in high school should know about finance." Siebert explained how people who can afford the least end up spending the most in the financial world. "When a student orders a pizza and puts it on his or her credit card to pay back later, they're led to believe it's the same as paying cash. What they don't realize, however, is with interest rates they could be paying for that pizza for years. People must have tools to know how to use the money they are making." Siebert, the first woman superintendent of a bank, wrote the first business curriculum six years ago, which included such important information as knowing the difference between buying and leasing a car and what an apartment lease is.
Students from Clara Barton High School had a plan to distribute personal use products called Heavenly Products, named for Clara Barton, the angel of the battlefield. Students discussed capitalization, production, distribution, net profits and social responsibility. Most teams had multimedia presentations using computers and large video screens, displaying self-confidence and dressed in a smart, corporate way.
The winning team from Tottenville High School in Staten Island presented OVEA, an ad agency, as their creative business. The dramatic beginning showed a group of masked physicians in the operating room around the patient. When the sheet was removed, the "worst ad ever" was on the table. One doctor fainted; others applied CPR and blood transfusions until the OVEA Ad Agency appeared on the table. The audience laughed.
Delaney stated to all the students, "No matter what field you choose, you will always succeed."
Lesia Koropey, in the Community Affairs department at Mercedez-Benz USA, awarded OVEA with the Mercedes-Benz Technology Award, which was a brand new "fully-loaded" laptop so they could continue their business plans for the future.
Iris Blanc concluded, "the skills you've learned makes you all winners." In the words of Nick Tommasino, Senior Partner, Deloitte and Touche, "Our students are our future. It's wonderful to have this ceremony back here again after the World Trade Center Disaster."#