2017 Southern Regional Conference and Exhibition Recap

November 20-21, 2017
LeConte Event Center
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Key Stats

  • 1,617 total attendees
  • 72 schools
  • 92 firms
  • 13 competitions (including Business Plan)
  • 7 states (Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee)

Competition Results

Southern Regional Business Plan Competition

Representing Tennessee

  1. Elysium, Bearden High School
  2. AuNaturale Spa and Hair, Inc., Oakland High School
  3. Extreme Adventures, East Hamilton High School
  4. The Animal Kingdom, Inc., Loretto High School
  5. Alpha and Omega, Lawrence County High School
  6. Kutt Loose, Siegel High School

Representing Missouri

  1. Global Goodies, Parkway West High School
  2. Arrow Shipping, Parkway South High School
  3. VIVID+, Parkway West High School

Congratulations to all the winners, and to Global Goodies, Elysium, and AuNaturale Spa and Hair, Inc who will be going to the 2018 National Business Plan Competition!

Results for Top 10 teams in Advanced Website, Booth Design, Company Branding, Company Newsletter, E-Commerce Website, Elevator Pitch, Human Resources, Impact Marketing, Marketing, Sales Materials, Salesmanship, and Video Commercial can be found at the Competitions Results page.

View Competition Results


Social Media Contest Winners

Bucket List, Waubonsie Valley High School, Aurora, IL

For a comprehensive overview of their firm’s conference and exhibition experience:

VIVID+, Parkway West High School, Chesterfield, MO

For their great timelapse of the exhibition space and all the booths:

The Cozy Company, Stewarts Creek High School, Smyrna, TN

For their wonderful behind-the-scenes video of their class trip:

Thank You to Our Judges

On behalf of the VEI, we would like to say a big thank you to the following individuals who helped with the judging of the business plan competitions and all the live competitions the day of the conference and exhibition. The success of the conference would not have happened without their help.

Jutta Bangs, Director TSBDC Oak Ridge, TN
Richard Bettis, Sr. Commercial Loan Officer, Highland Union Bank
Doyle Boyd
Cliff Claudell, President, Greater Knoxville Score Chapter
Holly Cross
Felicia Demos, CFO, Demos’ Restaurants
Bruce Hayes, Director, Tennessee Small Business Development Center
Stephen Jenkins, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center
Tabitha King, Regal Title, LLC
Christopher Salute, Asst. Dean, Long Island University Global
Laura Overstreet, Sr. Business Specialist, TSBDC
Teresa Sylvia, Business Specialist, TSBDC
Mary Metz
Doug Minter, Knoxville Chamber Director of Small Business Development
Judi Molla
Linda Ousley, Former VE facilitator
Amy Pangelinan, Market President, Highland Union Bank
Pam Thurman, CTE Core Consultant
Christy Seals
Vanessa Thompson

VEI Partnering with TIAA-CREF to Bring VE to Missouri

VEI and TIAA-CREF are partnering together to launch a VE program in a St. Louis metro area high school by 2016-17. TIAA-CREF is a Fortune 100 financial services organization and a leading retirement provider for people who work in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields. Employees from their local and national offices will have opportunities to engage with VE students by serving as classroom mentors and judges for regional business plan competitions and trade shows, National Online Competitions, and the Youth Business Summit. VEI and TIAA-CREF are exploring other engagement opportunities such as financial literacy and career development activities and internships for VE students.

TIAA-CREF is excited to be taking a leadership role in bringing the VE program to a new state and partnering with us to serve more at-risk students and scale-up our unique approach to preparing youth for the workforce and building their financial literacy skills.

VEI is in the selection process for schools and by 2016-17, the¬†“Gateway to the West” will provide students with pathways to their futures.

If you are interested in helping VE start a program in an underserved community, please contact Bryn Canner, Director of Development, at bcanner@veinternational.org.