2019 Great Lakes Conference & Exhibition Recap

Great Lakes Conference & Exhibition
Friday, February 1, 2019
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Rosemont, IL

Key Stats

  • 800 total attendees
  • 750 participating students
  • 43 firms
  • 30 volunteers
  • 25 schools
  • 12 competitions

Student Highlights

When Education Reporter Adriana Cardona-Maguigad from Chicagoland’s NPR affiliate WBEZ 91.5 arrived at the 2019 Great Lakes Conference & Exhibition with microphone in hand, many people took notice. Several students contributed to her story, which aired on February 4 and published on the WBEZ news website. Congratulations to the following students who were featured:

Read the full story: “Student Entrepreneurs Run Businesses In Virtual World


Competition Results

Results for top teams in Advanced Website, Best Booth, Company Newsletter, Elevator Pitch, Finance, Impact Marketing, Human Resources, Marketing Plan, Sales Materials, Sales Pitch, Video Commercial can be found at the Competitions Results page.

View Competition Results

Social Media Contest Winners

Apex Entertainment, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, IL


Legacy, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, IL


MetaNova, Metea Valley High School, Aurora, IL


Participant Quotes

From Area304, Geneva CUSD #304, Geneva IL:

“The day was an amazing experience filled with motivated students and incredible work.” – Eileen Drew
“The Great Lakes Conference & Exhibition was a fun time where I met with serious, friendly, and amusing people who made this a great learning event.” – Aaron Stocking
“The atmosphere of young, enthusiastic business students is truly exciting for everyone there.” – Collin Wessel

Rob Yusko, 1st year VE Facilitator, Airport High School, Carleton MI:

“Being a first year VE teacher I had no idea what to expect heading into this process. I quickly learned the student led classroom that I had heard so much about was not only an effective way for students to learn, but my class was getting a reputation for being one of the most engaging in the entire school.”

“The Trade shows, in my opinion, are truly the capstone ‘project’ of VE. Students have opportunities to present to judges, set up their booth, and most importantly buy and sell products to other students. This buying / selling interaction at the Trade show is such an instrumental part of students learning. Having to approach different students and sell products is a nerve-racking experience at first, but students soon build confidence in themselves and their abilities. The ability to build relationships with not only their classmates but their peers throughout the country is something that makes VE very unique.”

Wendy Schmitt, Great Lakes Regional Director:

“In spite of record-breaking cold temperatures resulting in a number of challenges, this year’s exhibition was yet another outstanding event! From competitive presentations to networking to dynamic booths and sales pitches, all of the feedback I received from students, staff, and volunteers praised the organization and success of the 2019 Great Lakes Conference & Exhibition!”

Nick Ioriatti, St. Charles North VE alumnus, Keynote Speaker:

“VE gives you a taste of today’s business environment that the rest of the high school curriculum cannot. To see this event in action as an alumnus of the program only further solidified my opinion.”

Thank you to Long Island University and HSBC for their support of the 2019 Great Lakes Conference & Exhibition! Sincere appreciation also goes to all of the volunteers who helped with pre-conference preparations, judged our competitions, and assisted with each of the Conference & Exhibition events. We are truly grateful for our wonderful team!

WBEZ News: “Student Entrepreneurs Run Businesses In Virtual World”

On February 4, 2019, Chicago’s WBEZ radio broadcasted a report about the 2019 Great Lakes Regional Conference and Exhibition, which happened on February 1. Several students were interviewed about their businesses and their experiences with VE.

“I’ve had a huge interest in business so I wanted to take this class and see what is like…It prepares for a real life situation and how it is actually in the business world.” – Isabella T., Envision North, Belvidere North High School

Listen to the full story at “Student Entrepreneurs Run Businesses In Virtual World

The Daily Herald: “Suburban students to compete in regional virtual business conference”

The 2019 Great Lakes Regional Conference and Exhibition, which took place on February 1, was featured in a Chicago news publication on January 31, 2019. The number of schools in the Great Lakes region has increased considerably in the last decade, from two schools in 2009 to nineteen as of the 2018-19 school year. Eight hundred students, both from within the region and without, attended the conference and participated in various competitions.

“Students get the opportunity to network … build their leadership skills. They have an opportunity to develop skills that they need in the workplace.” – Kendra Lee, Illinois State VE Coordinator

Read the full story: “Suburban students to compete in regional virtual business conference

Watch the Top 10% Elevator Pitch Videos from the 2018 National Elevator Pitch Competition

The National Elevator Pitch Competition is a video submission competition challenging VE students to make a convincing and engaging “Elevator Pitch” to an Angel Investor in 60 seconds or less. See the playlist below to view the Top 10% submissions. Go to the Competition Results page to see the Top 50% of submissions recognized for the 2018 competition.

2018 Northeast Regional Conference & Exhibition Recap

Northeast Regional Conference & Exhibition
December 10, 2018
University of Rochester Entrepreneurship Center
Rochester, NY

Key Stats

  • 225 total attendees
  • 200 participating students
  • 9 schools
  • 14 firms
  • 12 volunteers
  • 7 competitions

Competition Results

Results for top teams in Video Commercial, Sales Materials, Company Newsletter, Salesmanship, Best Booth, Most Sales, and Business Plan can be found at the Competitions Results page.

View Competition Results

Social Media Contest Winners

That’s The Last Straw, Sweet Home High School, Buffalo, NY

College 101, Honeoye Falls-Lima High School, Honeoye Falls, NY

Doorstep Sports, Pittsford Sutherland High School, Pittsford, NY

Watch How Intuit and VE Partner to Help Teens Develop Career and Financial Readiness Skills

See how Intuit and VE are partnering to help teens develop career and financial readiness skills. Kudos to the students from James Logan High School who are featured in this video!

Learn more about Intuit’s partnership with VE

Intuit partners with VE to provide Quickbooks Online and Design for Delight to Thousands of Students Across the US

VE Students from James Logan High School Connect with Business Leaders at Quickbooks Connect San Jose

The Suffolk Times: “Mattituck students compete in Virtual Enterprise business plan contest”

On January 23, 2019, VE firm Glow Games of Mattituck High School was featured in a local news publication for students’ attendance at the 2019 Long Island Conference and Exhibition, where they participated in the business plan competition, and won awards for their submissions to the Video Commercial Competition (silver award), Company Newsletter Competition (gold award), and Branding Competition (silver award).

Read the full story: “Mattituck students compete in Virtual Enterprise business plan contest

The Bakersfield Californian: “Students’ business skills put to test with state Virtual Enterprises competition”

On January 15, 2019, a local Bakersfield news publication posted an article inviting the public to the 2019 California State Conference & Exhibition, which took place on January 16 and 17. The event included some new opportunities for students, including a student and teacher team-building and leadership event at a restaurant the night before the conference and a tour of the exhibition floor followed by a luncheon for business leaders.

Read the full story: “Students’ business skills put to test with state Virtual Enterprises competition

Additional News Coverage

The event was also covered by 23 ABC News in “Virtual Enterprise Competition Happening in Bakersfield

and Bakersfield Now in “High-school students from around the state in Bakersfield for virtual business competition

Loudon County News-Herald: “Take control of their learning”

On January 16, 2019, the News-Herald published an article featuring the VE firms at Loudon High School in Tennessee. The article described the yearly tasks of participating students, including attending annual events such as regional trade shows.

“From a business standpoint it’s how to come up with products and also how to get out there and learn the skills that I don’t know, but also help other people.”
– Elam Huddleston, VE student

Read the full story: “Take control of their learning

Patch (New Hyde Park): “NHP Virtual Enterprise Students ‘Go To Work’ Instead Of Class”

On January 14, 2019, the Patch published an article featuring first-year firm T. Merchants from New Hyde Park Memorial High School. The firm attended the 2019 Long Island Regional Conference and Exhibition, where students presented their business plan and received a gold award for their employee handbook.

Read the full story: “NHP Virtual Enterprise Students ‘Go To Work’ Instead Of Class