10th Annual Virtual Enterprise Competition at Deloitte Touche
Virtual Enterprise International (VE) recently held its annual Citywide Business Plan Competition at the Deloitte & Touche Offices at the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan.
The competition is a part of the Virtual Enterprise Program which was implemented in New York City Public high schools in 1996 so that students could learn about business and the corporate world through task oriented and hands on workshops.
The program modeled its concept from the practice firm program in Europe in which students learn how to run a business and it’s also a part of the apprenticeship models from Germany where students get hands on experience by running their own company.
Initially only seven New York City public high schools participated in the Virtual Enterprise Program when it started out. Today the Virtual Enterprise program consists of fifty-three business oriented New York City public high schools and sixty five different virtual business firms.
The mission of the program according Iris Blanc, Director of Virtual Enterprises, is “To give students exposure to economics, career education, business education and the expectations of the workplace. Students learn how to run their own virtual business firms by learning different aspects and intricacies of the corporate world with the guidance of a staff of dedicated teachers and business mentors. Students must develop their own business program. The teachers are there to guide them. The business is ongoing so the numbers that they have come from year after year.” She adds, “There’s an online banking system that is connected throughout the world so they really buy and sell products and services. The only thing about the business is that there’s no real money exchanged and there are no real products delivered but everything else is real.”
Joseph Delaney of Deloitte Touche, the Coordinator and Director for the Virtual Enterprise program explains, “What we hope for these students to get out of this program is the love for learning a business and then making a contribution to society. Perhaps one day they may volunteer for a program like VE in New York City.”
The top three firms will have the opportunity to contend for $25,000 in cash and prizes.
The citywide competition consists of two rounds where the students from each firm are asked to present their power point orient business plans, give an oral presentation and take questions from a panel of five to six judges of industry experts representing prestigious corporate firms.
After the first two rounds of presentations the eight virtual business firms with the highest scores move onto the next round of the competition.
The final round of the Citywide Business Plan Competition takes place in a large presentation room before an audience of several dozen people, the press and a panel of eight judges. It was amazing to watch how well these students were able to present their business plans despite the pressure of performing before a large audience and trying to impress the judges.
This year’s winners were the Printing Depot from Ft. Hamilton High School who finished in first place and VE Management from New Dorp High School and Universal Promotions from Edward R. Murrow High School who finished in second and third place respectively.
The reality for all these students who had the privilege to participate in this event is that they were all winners. It was phenomenal to see these young men and women all still in high school develop and implement these highly sophisticated business plans all of which was accomplished through their hard work and perseverance.
Caroline Johnson from Edward R. Murrow High School’s Universal Promotions expressed this sentiment when she explained “We put so much time and effort into our presentation. We worked really hard and put a lot of hours into each question.” She added, “I’m happy that we placed, we tried our hardest, there’s nothing we could have really done differently and there’s nothing I would have done differently. I’m really proud of my teammates.
Although everybody couldn’t come out a winner, everyone of these amazing individuals who competed will receive internships at several highly prestigious corporate firms such as Merrill Lynch and the experience of being a part of the Virtual Enterprise program is simply priceless.#