2020-21 Annual Report


Message from the President

Dear Friends,

Over the last year, organizations and educational institutions across the world encountered both momentous challenges and monumental changes—and VE was no exception. While the 2020-21 school year included two celebration-worthy achievements—VE’s 25th anniversary and reaching the milestone of having served 200,000 students since 1996—our focus was fixed on ensuring that students remained engaged in their VE classes despite the move to remote and hybrid learning environments.

Due to the versatility of VE’s program delivery, we were able to pivot quickly at the start of the pandemic to adapt our curriculum and meet the evolving realities of remote learning. In doing so, VE helped to ensure that students’ learning continued uninterrupted during the 2020-21 school year. Similarly, we arranged virtual meet-and-greet sessions between VE classes and business professionals and launched an online trade show platform that enabled students and teachers to take part in one of VE’s signature learning experiences despite not being able to interact in person. By quickly implementing these changes, VE stayed on track and helped transform the lives of 18,000 students from 441 schools—half of which were in under-resourced areas.

As you will read in the following pages, these were not the only highlights of this historic school year. During 2020-21, 8,000 students and 600 judges took part in VE’s annual Youth Business Summit, which was conducted virtually. And in response to our end-of-year survey, 92% of students reported that they learned how to work as a team in addition to 94% teacher satisfaction. We were enormously encouraged by these results and are continuing to build on these successes.

Our ability to thrive in the face of unprecedented challenges is rooted not only in the versatility of the VE curriculum, but also in the resilience and resourcefulness of VE ‘s board, staff, volunteers, corporate partners, teachers, students, school administrators, supporters and parents. Without the efforts of every member of the VE community, we would not have been able to complete our mission of transforming students through authentic business experiences that prepare them to become the dynamic business leaders who will guide our economic recovery and inspire future innovation.

On behalf of our Board of Directors and staff, thank you for your continued support and enduring belief in the power of VE.


Nick Chapman
Virtual Enterprises International

2020-21 Snapshot

VE transforms students through authentic business experiences that prepare them for fulfilling, financially secure futures. Since its inception in 1996, VE has served more than 200,000 students, including many from economically disadvantaged communities. As of school year 2021-22, we are supporting 20,000+ students across the U.S. each year and are part of a global network spanning 40 countries and 7,500 student-run businesses.

Students Served in 2020-21
Students Transformed Since 1996
Schools Served in the Past Year
of Students Learn to Work as a Team
Hours of Work Gained By Each VE Student (on Average)
Students Served in Leadership Roles

Making a Difference
in a Difficult Year

VE Engages All Students in Any Learning Environment

The 2020-21 school year was unusual for students across the U.S. and across the world. The majority of VE schools operated in a hybrid environment, with students meeting sometimes in person and sometimes remotely. This posed challenges for ensuring a consistent and engaging learning experience for all students but teachers and students proved to be adaptable, resilient, and committed to providing the lessons and conditions necessary for student growth.

To showcase how VE served as a shining light for our students and teachers in 2020-21, please see the stories below shared by VE teachers detailing the challenges they faced last year and how VE kept their students engaged despite the circumstances.

Blackman High School, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

“My students operated just like actual business did during the pandemic...from home and from school and from anywhere. If that isn't real life, no class is.” - Marilyn Roberts, VE Facilitator

A big attraction for VE is the trade shows that the students attend. A lot of bonding takes place over the 2-3 days of being at a trade show. I was really worried about what VE would be like last year without the ability to travel, without the field trips, without trade shows. I was excited at the summer teacher conference to learn that VE would be doing virtual trade shows (much like the International Trade Show of April 2020).

I was nervous about getting buy-in from the kids when they know that VE goes to Pigeon Forge and New York and they aren’t getting to go anywhere. The demo trade show, regional trade shows, national, and international trade shows were strategically scheduled throughout the year. It gave the students something to look forward to almost monthly. I rotated the kids that participated in the trade shows so that they all received the experience.

VE was engaging last year because there was something going on year round. My VE students were engaged in online trade shows, certification practice, or competitions all year long. Thanks to Intuit paying for QuickBooks certification, two of my students were able to get QuickBooks certification last year. One of those students is in college now pursuing a business degree, the other has returned to VE for a second credit. Those certifications will help those students immensely in college and in their careers. My students and I also were very appreciative of the flexibility of the competitions and other aspects of VE.

I loved how the VE staff was always there to help. The new chat feature in the Hub was a plus. It was nice to know that given the circumstances of last school year, the national office staff were aware and in tune with what teachers needed. The national staff was always happy to help in any way possible. It couldn’t have been easy to keep up with what every teacher needed all year long. Sometimes as teachers we feel like our support team is very out of touch with what really goes on in a public classroom, but I can attest that VE staff is not out of touch!

Story contributed by Marilyn Roberts

Geneva Community High School, Geneva, Illinois

“I continuously reiterated to my students about how this class was still mimicking the real business world as we faced so many logistical challenges. They embraced this idea most of the year and they tried to take advantage of every opportunity VE had to offer.” - Jamie Dunlap, VE Facilitator

We could not have actual visitors in the school, only virtual ones. In the beginning of the year it seemed too overwhelming to try to get mentors to virtually meet, however as the year continued, the students found that using FaceTime worked great when working on department tasks, and slowly they adapted to our new normal. The students were all in when I suggested we create a booth in our Commons (huge center hallway outside the VE classroom) and use it during the online trade shows. They actually pulled in the Woods department to help build part of the booth. They were SUPER proud, as was I!

The VE students were engaged by all of the competitions and the Global Business Challenge. My students were ALL in and it was so great to see. Our firm came in 3rd place for the QuickBooks competition. This in and of itself was amazing, but what made it extra special and memorable for me was that one of the students in this group was going to drop VE in the beginning of the year. He told me that he felt like he did not belong and was way out of his league because he felt that most of the other students knew so much more about business. He decided to try staying in VE for another 30 days. Not only did he stay in VE, but he went on to get promoted to VP of Accounting, was on the Finance AND the QuickBooks competition team AND WON 3RD PLACE!!! I will never forget that moment when they announced our firm as 3rd place. We have seriously never been prouder.

Along with that was the Global Business Challenge that we would have never participated in had it not been online. The two students who participated felt it was such an amazing experience and one is back again this year. One of the first things he spoke about to the new group this year was his experience working with students from all over the world. The kids hung onto every word.

In hindsight, it really was a great year in VE. I continuously reiterated to my students about how this class was still mimicking the real business world as we faced so many logistical challenges. They embraced this idea most of the year and they tried to take advantage of every opportunity VE had to offer. On top of that, I added some things that I never seemed to have time to do in the past, such as having ALL students learn Canva, and making sure ALL students participated in at least one of the national competitions.

Story contributed by Jamie Dunlap

J.P. Taravella High School, Coral Springs, Florida

“My students thrived in the remote environment, despite my initial concerns. The trade shows were THE BEST drivers of participation from everyone.” - Laurie Acosta, VE Facilitator

The success of a VE firm depends on students collaborating, holding each other accountable, and delivering on a variety of tasks. Last year was so challenging in all my other classes because students were isolated and in many cases, unmotivated to engage. However, my VE students embodied small business owners/employees who were forced to pivot under these trying circumstances. Our leaders led by example, motivated and drove their teams, and executed on their vision. We used Microsoft Teams and created breakout rooms so that departments could meet and get work done together, and we used “conference rooms” in Teams so that departments could collaborate when necessary.

By far the most engaging VE contribution was holding so many trade shows online. This gave students the opportunity to earn revenue early in the year, and to see what other firms were doing. I assigned attendance/purchases from a minimum number of other firms, which encouraged my students to visit several.

The growth and development of these young people during the course of this program is inspiring. They came in as typical teens, and left with experiences, pride in accomplishment, and a feeling of COMPETENCE that they might not have developed in any other course.

Story contributed by Laurie Acosta, VE Facilitator

Lapeer County Education & Technology Center, Attica, Michigan

“VE’s curriculum and Hub made it possible to not only continue moving forward, it actually allowed us to accomplish more than we have in the past. All students could access their department tasks online via the VE Hub.” - Carrie Smith, VE Facilitator

The 2020-2021 School year was challenging because our VE program went from being all in person but six feet apart with masks or talking distance with masks and shields, to fully remote to back in person again with full safety protocols in place. Being at a career center that draws from five local school districts, with students that participate in many different school related activities, there was never a week that we were all present whether our class was meeting in person or online. Sometimes, it was a student or two working remotely, sometimes it was their team, and sometimes it was their entire high school. At one point, I was quarantined at home and teaching via Zoom and a smart board in the classroom.

VE’s curriculum and Hub made it possible to not only continue moving forward, it actually allowed us to accomplish more than we have in the past. All students could access their department tasks online via the VE Hub. Students used the firm email to communicate with each other. We actually moved our entire business online utilizing the firm Google Drive and VE hub. This was a great simulation of what was happening all over the world.

In the past, we would attend a couple trade shows that would include students from our region and/or the neighboring region. With VE’s quick transition to online events, we were able to participate in our first international trade show and network with students from other countries.

In the past, we would invite guest speakers in from our local area into our classroom. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we were not allowed to have guests into our building. Again, meeting the new needs of our firm, VE arranged Digital Meet & Greets for both our firms with business professionals, Jessie Smith and Dennis Wong. They helped us fine tune our business ideas and develop best practices. When we invited John Avery from FIS Global to join us via Zoom he was impressed with our VE firm, the program, and our employees. In his thank you email, his comments included: “What a great group of students….. I was impressed with how Brooke led the class in such a thoughtful Q&A and her elevator pitch” and “Thanks so much for another awesome session with an amazing group today! I was particularly impressed with Teagan’s elevator pitch and representation of the team’s work.”

We were able to complete and submit national competitions online collaborating from many different locations. We participated for the first time ever in the D4D competition, Global Innovation Challenge, VE Student Influencer program, and qualified as a national finalist in the Business Plan Competition. Both our firms, Imagineers and Overseek, made the VE Top 50 for the 2020-21 school year.

Although we were not in control of our circumstances, we thrived because we had the support system created by VE and it’s amazing staff!

Story contributed by Carrie Smith

Montclair High School, Montclair, California

“My students were engaged, learning, and having fun all at the same time and VE made it possible!” - Lori Jepson, VE Facilitator

At Montclair High our VE program is a capstone to our CTE pathway. When we were sent home in March of 2020 my VE class was able to transform our Face Painting business into a supplier of specialty designed masks. Based on this success, I had confidence that students in VE for the 2020-21 school year could manage VE.

My biggest challenge was building relationships among the class through video conferencing rather than in-person. I only had one student in the class that I knew from a previous year and so we began our Covid-19 school year with a big focus on team building. Through the use of Zoom breakout rooms, and a variety of activities they became experts on screen sharing, Zoom chat, and Microsoft Teams, while at the same time developing strong working relationships. I knew we were going to be okay when students started working on projects together and would meet in the evenings on their own or would invite me to work with them on competition items. Using the D4D curriculum we brainstormed and researched problems we could find solutions to during the pandemic. Students were engaged further by the creation of surveys they developed and then sent out to family, friends, and other classes to further focus their product idea.

Since we are on the West Coast our times to cover for trade shows were often early in the morning and would span 6 hours. As we prepared, department leaders would take charge to make sure everyone in their department understood the product and how to process sales. By April, I was amazed with how they ran the final trade show, and how they easily traded off between the greeting and salesperson handoff, and how accounting ran sales reports the day after the trade show.

The VE Top 50 was influential in prioritizing our workload and was an essential tool for our CEO and VPs in driving the workflow. Having the national competitions structured the way they were with online presentations was a great experience for my group. When my QuickBooks Online team presented in the final rounds, my entire class and administrators were so impressed with the team’s knowledge but also with where the judges were from (France, India and the USA). My firm really took great pride in their presentations and being at home also gave them time to practice and hone their presentation skills. They were not the teenagers focused on by national news reports, they were engaged, learning, and having fun all at the same time and VE made it possible!

We have never qualified for a national competition, so the new structure allowed more teams to compete and give them opportunities they may have missed if we didn’t experience a pandemic shutdown of our school. I also know that if students were able to go out, they may have had less time to commit to our business. Creating a culture of excellence and allowing students to work online together also reduced the problems of getting together physically to finish tasks.

As a VE Facilitator/Area Leader for over 20 years I was able to truly see that all my students understood what it takes to run their own business.

Story contributed by Lori Jepson

MS 53, Queens, New York (VE-JV Middle School)

“I wish there were a million hours to explain the heartfelt emotions that we experienced today as a firm.” - Jessika Rosen, VE-JV Facilitator

My 8th graders needed this trade show more than anything and when we decided, on a whim last week to participate, I knew I wasn’t going to let them take away anything less than they deserve. Their 7th grade was cut short due to COVID-19 and we have been remote ever since. My students face adversity of every form and are from a community where exposure to positive opportunities are limited.

I have had students in the past week stay up all night to work hard making a website and logo and conduct market research (some of whom had to do so from their cell phones due to technology issues). They have worked tirelessly on something they fully didn’t grasp until today’s trade show.

Not only did they have a blast, they actually spoke to humans for the first time in 10 months. Some of these kids haven’t left the house once so for them it was exactly what they needed for their social skills. One of my students who was a new English-language learner student last year began to regress this year and hasn’t really been “there” during class much…HOWEVER…after a late night FaceTime with her number one fan (me) last night, she agreed to try participating in the trade show. She KILLED it!!! She was in the Lobby and instead of being our front line translator for Spanish-speaking customers, she greeted customers in English and did her thing. There are so many students that I can brag about, and it doesn’t feel bad at all, because it is rare these days they hear praise.

I am so thankful for this event and I am so happy we had the opportunity to do it!

Story contributed by Jessika Rosen

Featured Student Businesses

2021 National Business Plan Competition Finalists

The National Business Plan Competition showcases some of the best and brightest student leaders and budding entrepreneurs in the country. In 2020-21, 41 VE companies from around the country made it to the 2021 National Business Plan Competition after demonstrating strong written business plans and oral presentations to panels of industry professionals and educators. See below to view the top 8 teams from the 2021 National Business Plan Competition.

1st Place


Academy of Finance and Enterprise
New York

2nd Place


Murrieta Valley High School

3rd Place


Westhampton Beach High School
New York

4th Place


South Pasadena Senior High School

5th Place


South Pasadena Senior High School

6th Place

BioVital Incorporated

Germantown Friends School

7th Place


Huntington High School
New York

8th Place


GW Hewlett High School
New York

"My favorite part of VE was..."

Feedback from 2021 Student Exit Survey

“Learning about business and how the business world works and operates. I feel as though this class was very beneficial in teaching everyone important life lessons and skills that we all can take to college and beyond. Learning about taxes, how to properly communicate in a professional business environment, and how to work effectively with others, were the most impactful lessons I learned throughout the year." - VE student

“Being able to interact with other schools across the nation and even across the globe.” - VE student

“Getting to work with my classmates in a professional environment and create a company that helped with problems we were so passionate about!” - VE student

“Definitely the trade show. It was exciting to showcase what you’ve been working on all year to other teens around the country.” - VE student

“Learning professional skills such as how to present myself, how to write a proper email, how to create aesthetically pleasing slide shows, and more specifically about starting up a business, I learned about how many moving parts it actually takes to create a successful business! It takes a team, and I learned a little bit about each of those parts and how they all have to work for the company to work as a whole.” - VE student

“Whenever I was put in a leadership position and was responsible for the success of others in a group.” - VE student

“The fact that VE is an entirely hands-on class where I learn various skills through experience rather than homework and basic lessons made the class as a whole very engaging.” - VE student

“When we had to take a specific role in the company. It didn't feel like we were in class.” - VE student

“I loved the competitions, they were a fun way to work hard.” - VE student

“Applying my skills and love for technology in a way that could benefit the company, such as designing the website or a company commercial.” - VE student

Partners & Supporters

HSBC Extends Longtime Partnership Through $1 Million Grant

This year, HSBC announced a $1 million grant to the VE program to support the nonprofit’s national growth. “So many students, particularly those at schools in underserved communities, have lost so many hours of learning over the past year, yet they have demonstrated impressive commitment and resiliency in their studies,” said Michael Roberts, CEO of HSBC Americas. “Through this grant, HSBC extends a nearly 25-year partnership with VE that will help bridge the learning gap.” Over the course of its relationship with VE, HSBC will have provided a total of $3.8 million in financial support, and HSBC employees have given thousands of volunteer hours. In 2020, 295 employees contributed a total of 831 hours to support VE programs, offering their international banking and business expertise to participating students.

Top Tier Executives Share Their Insights and Expertise with VE Students

Michael Roberts, CEO of HSBC Americas, along with Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose, and Lara Hood Balazs, executive vice president, chief marketing officer and general manager of Intuit, joined nearly three dozen other C-suite and top-tier executives during the VE Executive Conference on April 20, 2021. The event provided an opportunity for the executives to engage, interact with, and mentor VE student CEOs to improve their business skills and acumen. The Executive Conference kicked off with an executive panel discussion led by Roberts, Best and Hood Balazs, followed by breakout sessions with all executives and VE student-entrepreneurs.

Partners Thank You


Ceros • KPMG • East West Bank • Morgan Stanley • PIMCO • Quantic • TD Bank

Post-Secondary Institutions

Volunteer Impact

Volunteers play an essential role in the VE experience. Skilled professionals serve as competition judges, guest shoppers at trade shows, classroom mentors, and curriculum contributors. Each year, more than 1,000 business professionals and educators volunteer their time, talents, and expertise. Each volunteer brings real-world elements and insight into the VE program, helping VE students on their journey to prepare for a successful future.

During the 2021 Youth Business Summit, VE recognized Bill Demmin with the Volunteer Recognition Award. Mr. Demmin has served as a mentor at Murrieta Valley High School for several years, helping VE students to consistently place in the top 1%-5% of teams both nationally and regionally. Not only has Mr. Demmin volunteered more hours as a competition judge than nearly any other judge in the nation, but he has expanded his efforts to mentor multiple teams across the United States, helping them reach new levels of achievement under his guidance. His level of expertise and focus when helping to guide students is truly valued.

Hours of Volunteerism for National Online Competitions
Hours of Volunteerism for Youth Business Summit
Hours of Volunteerism for VE-JV Business Pitch Competition
Hours of Volunteerism for Regional Events

Donors & Supporters




New York Life Foundation

Up to $50,000

American Portfolios
Bank of America
Capital One

Up to $25,000

BNP Paribas
Broadridge Financial Solutions
Deena & Pravin Shah Family Foundation
JP Morgan Chase

Long Island Community Foundation
Steve Orr

Up to $10,000

Anil Atluri
Ritu Banga
Matthew & Lauren Boone
Cantor Fitzgerald Securities
Bryan Chao
Gerry Chasin
Matt & Pamela Chasin
Michael Coneys
Council of School Supervisors and Administrators
Paul Cronin
Xavier Dailly
Joseph & Nancy Delaney
Michael Distenfeld
TJ Durkin
East West Bank

Scott Eichel
Jesse Elhai
Ashley Fina
Gregg Fisher
Chris Flatz
Moe Fodeman
Goldman Sachs
Cesar & Courtney Gonzalez
Mary Haggerty
Zachary & Leonida Herrera
Dylan W. Huang
Michael Hubbe
Joe Imbriano
Integrated Wealth Solutions, Inc.
J.P. Morgan Charitable Giving Fund
Cameron Kirby
Sandra & Eric Krasnoff
Brian Kriftcher
Bernadette Kriftcher
Wendy & Jerry Labowitz

Michael Lascher
Marc & Jennifer Lessner
Jay Lewis
Reid Liffmann
Ronald Madden
Shahram Mahini
Evan Mittman
Marie Moody
Joseph Ng
Notre Dame Club of Staten Island
Aaron Ong
Jon Ostrow
People’s United Community Foundation
Rancho Santiago Community College
Randy Reiff
Warren Rosen
Chris Ruggeri
Arielle Savino
Jerome & Stacey Schneider

Dana Schueltz
Jack Schwartz
Brian Sigman
Daniel Simet
Joe Steffa
Stella & Chewy’s LLC
Marcie & Miles Stuchin
Michael Taliercio
Jeffrey & Jaclyn Taylor
Antoinette Tomai
Steven Valentic
Steven & Helene Walsey
Michael Weinstein
Wilson Sonsini

Up to $1,000

William Anast
Michael Antilety
Krishna Balachander
Peter Barnett
Daniel Bergstein
Eric Bisman
Charities Aid Foundation of America
William Chedester
Mario De Tomasi
Anthony Debellis
Raul Delgadillo
Bill Demmin
Dana Dietche
Howard Dym
Sean Egeran
Ricardo Espinoza
Jared Fischer
Amy Frank

Laura Frye
Mindy Gabler
Maureen Gillan-Myer
Tina Gimas
Jesus Gonzalez
Steve Gordon
Gina Grillo
Beth Grossman
Gregg Hackett
Richard Hall
Michael Hamilton
Mike Hamilton
Andrew Harris
Patrick Higgins
Abby Hoffman
Rodney Hutter
Andrew Ibrahim
Adam Kolton

Lana Koretsky
Eric Kriftcher
Christina Lao
Michael Leister
Robert Levin
Mark Lipari
Richard Mcredmond
William Meyer
Paul Motusesky
Ellen Palazzo
Jean Pierre
Mary Pisarkiewicz
Glenn Rocca
Jonathan Rogin
Dara Rosenberg
Michael Rubin
Edward Russnow

Louie Sampedro
Marlon Samuels
Ian Schnider
Joan Schultz
Scott Schwartz
Evan Schwartzberg
Chris Scott
Philip Seares
Mark Smith
Thomas Smith
Steve Stofelano
Jacob & Nicole Stuebbe
Christopher Tkac
Earle Yaffa
Jose Zaragoza
Alan Zaretsky


Writing and editing contributions provided by Barbara Shore and Rossana Weitekamp. Header image provided by Jeffrey Holmes.