Contributed by Trish Vanni

They were “geared up and ready to go” reports VEI NY Metro Program Coordinator Lindsay Dewey, reflecting on the mood of 215 students from 13 New Jersey High Schools as they gathered on January 17, 2023 for the VEI Central Division Business Plan Competition. The high-energy competition was a full day affair hosted at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, N.J[PV1] .  Fifteen firms were represented.

As with all VEI regional competitions, the event provided an opportunity for firms to compete for best business plan, best exhibit booth, and best sales pitch. Students came ready to showcase all they have accomplished in recent months, particularly their innovative products. While all firms came with their eye on winning in one or more of the three focus areas – and with that advancing to the national competition – the gathering also gave the students an opportunity to experience the creative approaches and products of other VE firms in their state. 

The top six teams were:  

  1.   BevBlast – Morris County School of Technology
  2.   WAVE – South River High School
  3.   PetPoint- Robbinsville High School
  4.   PetZ LLC – West Orange High School
  5.   eZsqueeZ – Academy of Math, Science, & Engineering
  6.   Better Bins- Morris Hills High School

First- and second-place teams, BevBlast and WAVE, now advance to the National Business Plan Competition.

VE is an educational nonprofit transforming students through authentic business experiences that prepare them for fulfilling, financially secure futures. The Central Division event sponsor was Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office, an office technology and IT solutions company that supports more than 20,000 organizations. Special thanks go to Joel Sherman, Senior Vice President of New Business Development and Sports/Entertainment Marketing and Planning at Atlantic, for his contributions to this great gathering. VEI leaders and participants also thank Mary Sakin and Pat Wyer at Fairleigh Dickinson University for all they did to create a welcoming environment for participants, sponsors, and volunteers alike.

Photos by Shaun Sanders