Introducing the 2019 VE Social Venture Challenge Sponsored By BNP Paribas

The 2019 VE Social Venture Challenge is a business pitch competition designed to inspire VE students to propose solutions to pressing social and environmental issues. This year’s competition prizes will be supported by BNP Paribas, whose mission supports igniting social innovation for the common good.

The purpose of the 2019 VE Social Venture Challenge is to give VE students the opportunity to develop a real business concept that has a social and/or environmental impact. Student teams of 2-4 members who advance to the final round will be able to pitch their unique social enterprise business concept to a panel of leading entrepreneurs and BNP Paribas executives – at VE’s annual gala on April 17, 2019 in New York City.

Budding entrepreneurs will be able to transform their concepts into viable businesses that drive social change through mentorship, education, financial support and real-world business opportunities. A $10,000 monetary prize will be awarded to the first-place team to advance their concept and a laptop computer will be awarded to each second- and third-place team member.

Submit Interest Application
Background Information and Expectations
Application Process and Timeline
2018 Venture Challenge Winner

Submit Interest Application

The 2019 VE Social Venture Challenge Interest Application is open from October 1, 2018 to November 15, 2018.

Background Information and Expectations

What is a social enterprise?

A social enterprise can be generally defined as an economically sustainable business that positively impacts people and/or the planet. It can be organized as a for-profit or not-for-profit, and exists to achieve a positive impact on the economy, people or the environment – such as providing safe drinking water, renewable energy or creating jobs for the unemployed. Sample social enterprise businesses may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Social Impact
    • Job creation
    • Improved health care or education for underserved populations
    • Developing people’s success skills
    • Business ethics
  • Environmental Impact
    • Minimizing impacts of an activity on the environment
    • Environmentally friendly solutions/products/materials
    • Circular economy (reuse of end-of-life products – waste – as raw materials)
    • Developing biodegradable products or sustainable energy sources

What should you consider before submitting an idea?

  • Answer the following questions to guide your thinking about a social enterprise when developing your concept:
    • What is the challenge are you trying to solve?
    • Why is this challenge important?
    • How do you intend to solve this challenge?
    • What is your vision for the future beyond solving the immediate challenge?
  • Be mindful that your social enterprise business plan…
    • …must solve a social and/or environmental issue and be entirely integrated into your social venture business model.
    • …should not be limited to simply donating a portion of its profits to charity; it must have a positive impact on a social issue or the environment.
    • …needs to have the potential to scale.
    • …should be able to build a viable economic model and not rely only on grants or outside donations.
    • …should be innovative
    • …can be a for-profit, nonprofit or hybrid
    • …should be able to identify potential partners that you could approach, potential competitors, and potential funders.
    • …must provide a pre-analysis of the “social market” considered (for instance, what issue is being tackled and how socially innovative is it compared to existing practices, estimation of the population underserved, sizing of the growth potential…)
    • Defining metrics to measure the impact (if applicable: on the economy, on the people, on the environment…)
  • Research whether or not your social enterprise business already exists. However, you may submit an idea that improves upon an existing product and/or service.
    • Conduct a Google search to see if your idea exists.
    • Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database to see if your product idea has been submitted for a patent.

Can the VE Social Venture Challenge Mirror the VE business?

YES, as long as the social enterprise business addresses a sustainability challenge and is a viable concept that can be implemented in the real world.

Is this competition in lieu of the VE Business Plan Competition? 

NO. This competition will be a separate competition with different judging criteria, submission timelines, and team members.


VE Social Venture Challenge semi-finalist teams must be willing to commit to mentoring by industry professionals leading up to the Challenge via Skype.

Application Process & Timeline


  1. October 1, 2018 – November 15, 2018 – Team and business concept application period.
  2. November 15, 2018 – December 22, 2018 – Round 1 application period.
  3. January 19, 2019 – Seven (7) semi-finalist teams will be selected to advance to Round 2.
  4. February 8, 2019 – Semi-finalist submit Round 2 application by 5:00 PM.
  5. February 15, 2019 – Three (3) finalist teams will be selected to advance to the Final Round. Mentors will be assigned. Finalist teams must commit to work with mentors (through Skype) to refine their presentation leading up to the Challenge.
  6. February – April 2019 – Teams will practice their pitch presentations with VEI staff and business mentors.
  7. April 17, 2019 – Three (3) finalist teams will give their pitch presentations at the Gala.

Round 1: Preliminary Round

Teams of 2-4 students may apply to enter the Challenge. The designated team leader must complete the online application found below (application pending). The application consists of relevant business questions and a one-minute Video Pitch, which must be submitted by 5:00 PM, Friday, December 22, 2018.

Round 1 entries will be evaluated by VEI staff, who will provide feedback and might ask for clarifying questions. All entries will be kept confidential. After VEI staff review Round 1 submissions, seven (7) semi-finalist teams will be selected to advance to Round 2 and will be notified by January 19, 2019.

Round 1 Video Pitch Guidelines: 

The 60-second video pitch should include the following information.

  • An engaging introduction.
  • The problem that the product/service is trying to solve.
  • How the product/service is going to solve the problem.
  • A description of the potential customers.
  • Why the product/service is better than those of the competition.
  • Why their team is the best to lead the company to success.

Sample Video Pitches:

Round 2: Semi-Final Round

The seven (7) semi-finalist teams will be asked to provide more detail about their business idea by February 8, 2019.

Three (3) finalist teams will be selected to advance to the Final Round and will be notified by February 15, 2019. Mentors will be assigned. Finalist teams must commit to work with mentors (through Skype) to refine their presentation leading up to the Challenge.

Final Round: 2019 Gala Presentations

The three (3) finalist teams will be invited to give their pitch presentations at the Gala on April 17, 2019 in New York City.

Final Round Pitch Presentation Guidelines:

  • Distributing material, samples and/or prototypes is permitted and encouraged.
  • PowerPoint slides (up to 4 slides) or audio/ video assistance is allowed.
  • Each presenter will be given a few minutes to answer questions from the judges.
  • The presentation pitch may not exceed 3 minutes.

Awards & Prizes

Finalist teams will be eligible to win prize money (to advance their concept), and each team member will receive a laptop computer. Transportation and lodging costs to New York City will be provided to finalist teams not taking part in the YBS.

Judging Criteria

Judges for each round will evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from investors. The businesses will be judged on the following criteria: viability, scalability (growth potential), team, innovation, and pitching skills. Businesses will be ranked based on which company the judges would most likely invest in as a sustainable social enterprise.

Thank you and good luck to all participants!

About BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 73 countries, with more than 196,000 employees. The Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporate and institutional clients) to realize their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. As a global company and Bank, BNP Paribas has a key role to play in building a sustainable future and therefore place great importance on its responsibility towards the economy, its employees, the environment and the communities.

2018 VE Venture Challenge Winner

Presenters: Madeline Barber & Skyler Smith
Parkway South HS, Manchester, MO

Madeline B. and Skyler S. from Parkway South High School in Missouri won the inaugural VE Venture Challenge, securing $10,000 in seed funding as well as a 1-year membership at WeWork Labs as they work to launch Generation, the ultimate unisex outdoor jacket.

View the VE Venture Challenge Presentations at the 2018 Gala

2018 Virginia Conference & Exhibition Recap

March 6, 2018
Advanced Technology Center, Tidewater Community College
Virginia Beach, VA

Key Stats

  • 248 total attendees
  • 14 schools
  • 16 firms
  • 198 students

Competition Results

Results for the top teams at this event’s competitions can be found at the Competitions Results page.

View Competition Results


Thank You to Our Supporters

Thank you to the following volunteers for helping judge competitions:

  • Victoria Carper, Webmaster, City of Hampton
  • Nate Collins, Supervisor Contact Center; Tech Support, Canon Information Technology Services, Inc.
  • Ralph Doak, President, All Seasons Heating and Cooling Service Company
  • Theresa Dougherty, Business and Information Technology Coordinator, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Ann Marie Garvey, Assistant Director, Advanced Technology Center, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Daniel Girouard, Asset Manager, City of Hampton, Hampton, VA
  • Kelly Krause, Operations Manager/Registered Assistant, JJSA Advisors, Ltd., Virginia Beach, VA
  • Peter Kraehmer, Vice President of Sales, Comtel Communications
  • Amy Mallinson, Vice President of Marketing, Virginia Beach City Public Schools Federal Credit Union
  • Robert Marlin, School Counseling Department Chair and Webmaster, Virginia Beach Technical and Career Center
  • Stephany Martin, Manager, Sr. Contact Center, Canon Information Technologies Services, Inc.
  • Sandra Raker, Public Speaking Professor, Paul D. Camp Community College
  • Anne Rowe, CTE Coordinator, (Retired, Virginia Department of Education)


Voice of America: “Students Learn Real Skills, Earn Simulated Profits”

VE was recently featured in The Voice of America, the U.S.’s largest international broadcaster.

“The money isn’t real, but the skills are, said a student entrepreneur with the virtual company Big City Tours, who won a scholarship to college.

“I went to the interviews, and being in this company has helped me really prepare my presentation skills and be able to talk to other people,” said student Catalina Garcia, who will start college this fall and hopes to become a doctor. She says the skills she gained in a virtual company have helped her, whether or not she starts her own company or works in the corporate sector.”

Link to full article: “Students Learn Real Skills, Earn Simulated Profits

2018 Venture Challenge Semi-Finalists

The following eight teams have moved on to Round 2 of the 2018 VE Venture Challenge.

Each team was evaluated as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from investors. These businesses excelled in the following criteria: viability, scalability (growth potential), team, innovation, and pitching skills. The ten (10) semi-finalist teams will be asked to provide more detail about their business idea by February 8, 2018. Three (3) finalist teams will be selected to advance to the Final Round and will be notified by February 15, 2018.

2018 Semi-Finalists

Apollo, Northwood High School, Pittsboro, NC
Axel, Francis Lewis High School, Fresh Meadows, NY
BedShift, Francis Lewis High School, Fresh Meadows, NY
Extreme Angles, Northwood High School, Pittsboro, NC
Generation, Parkway South High School, Manchester, MO
Indiplay, Loretto High School, Loretto, TN
Tropicoffee, Cooper City High School, Cooper City, FL
Wing, Westhampton Beach High School, Westhampton Beach, NY

Go to VE Venture Challenge page

Go to 2018 Gala page

Fox 5: 2018 Long Island Conference and Exhibition

Fox 5’s New York Minute featured the 2018 VE Long Island Conference and Exhibition hosted at Farmingdale State College.

Like and share the video below!

Verizon FiOS1 News: 2018 Long Island Conference and Exhibition

Verizon FiOS1 – Long Island featured VE students at the 2018 Long Island Conference and Exhibition.

Like and share the video below!

2018 Long Island Competition Results

Announcement Schedule
Pre-trade show Competitions: 10:00 AM
Day of trade show Competitions: 12:25 PM
Please report to Room 109 by 1:15 PM to pick up your award(s).

Tuesday, January 9th 2018

Company Branding

Gold Silver
Trubambu A Helping Hand
5urfs Up SolarFlex
Supa Scoops

Company Newsletter

Gold Silver
SuppLI 0h, Gauc-O-Taco
Body Kinetics SPFy
EVO Tech A Little Twist

E-Commerce Website

Gold Silver
 InvisaTrack  0h, Gauc-O-Taco
 A Helping Hand  EVO Tech
 Home Plate  SuppLI
 A Little Twist
 TRUBLU Technologies

Employee Handbook

Gold Silver
 EVO Tech  Port Clothing
 Body Kinetics  SuppLI

Sales Materials

Gold Silver
 Body Kinetics  02H
 A Helping Hand  Click-n-shop
 Trubambu  SolarFlex

Video Commercial

Gold Silver
 A Helping Hand  SPFy
 Home Plate  A Little Twist
 Trubambu  OmniStreem

Booth Design

Gold Silver
 Pre Game Sports Inc.  SuppLI
 Trubambu  EVO Tech
 Bake My Day  Advanced Lifestyle


Gold Silver
 A Helping Hand  CHI Corporation
 Monstrous Munchies  Say Cheese
 Bake My Day  Zaropa

Impact Marketing

Gold Silver
 A Helping Hand
 Invisa Track


Monday, January 8th 2018

Company Branding

Gold Silver
Fresh Direct Vend The Rules
At Your Service Nuapps

Company Newsletter

Gold Silver
Blueprint Nuapps
Prestige Worldwide

E-Commerce Website

Gold Silver
At Your Service

Employee Handbook

Gold Silver
It’s Fudge Ponix
PetPair Vend The Rules

Sales Materials

Gold Silver
At Your Service Vend The Rules
Fresh Direct Prestige Worldwide

Video Commercial

Gold Silver
At Your Service Fresh Direct
Empire Crates

Booth Design

Gold Silver
Gobi Outfitters Trendy Tees
Prestige Worldwide MatchWear
Ponix At Your Service


Gold Silver
Empire Crates EcoSence
MatchWear Live Action
Fresh Direct At Your Service

Impact Marketing

Gold Silver
At Your Service

2018 National Teachers Conference Dates Announced: July 9 – July 12

The National Teachers Conference is the best way for new and returning VEI teachers and school administrators to get ready for the upcoming school year. The next conference will be held July 9-12, 2018 at Long Island University Post Campus and will include four days of collaborative professional development, including workshops, presentations, networking, special events, and tours of LIU Post’s campus.

Details including registration, travel and accommodations, conference schedule, and more will be found on the National Teachers Conference page when available.

2016-17 Annual Report

With the help of the business partners, supporters, board members, educators, mentors and advocates who are part of our mission, in 2016-17 we transformed 12,000 students across 400 schools in 19 states into business professionals and entrepreneurs. It is both exciting and humbling to know that VEI has impacted so many students who have developed the skills and competencies needed to be college- and career-ready while developing and executing business innovations.

And thanks to our VEI community, we invested nearly $2 million in creating the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.

As you review the many milestones of the past year at VE, we hope that you will celebrate the part you played in helping thousands of rising business leaders and entrepreneurs achieve great things.

View 2016-17 Annual Report

October 2017 Social Media Showcase

Students are developing and applying their career readiness competencies through their daily work experience in the classroom, professional development activities, leadership events, major VE program components such as business planning, the National Elevator Pitch Competition, and the National Branding Competition.

VE community members: If you want to be featured in next month’s showcase, share photos and/or videos of students working and examples of work being produced on Instagram and/or Twitter with #veinternational.

Student Work

Company shirts #xtremeteam #xtremecomfort #vei #veinternational

A post shared by Xtreme Comfort (@xtreme_comfort) on


Students Working


First-Ever VE Alumni Networking Night


Celebrating VE’s Winning Women


HalloVEen Contest Winner