2017 Venture Challenge Semi-Finalists

The following nine teams have moved on to Round II of the 2017 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 semi-finalist teams will be asked to provide more detail about their business idea by February 21, 2017 and three (3) finalist teams will be selected to advance to the Final Round and will be notified by February 24, 2017.

2017 Semi-Finalists

TeamSchoolCity/State
Ethnic EmpowermentFrancis Lewis High SchoolFresh Meadows, NY
HEELmatesCary-Grove High SchoolCary, IL
NeuVenJefferson High SchoolTampa, FL
PrizmWesthampton Beach High SchoolWesthampton Beach, NY
Solely RubberJP Taravella High SchoolCoral Springs, FL
The Safe HousePortland High SchoolPortland, TN
TredBedParkway West High SchoolChesterfield, MO
Trinity GamesFrancis Lewis High SchoolFresh Meadows, NY
VICTORIESEagle Academy for Young Men of HarlemNew York, NY

Go to VE Venture Challenge page

Go to 2017 Gala page

Taravella Seniors Take on New York for Youth Business Summit – Tamarac Talk

Students from JP Taravella travelled to New York to participate in a three-day event event which allowed them to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and diverse talents in entrepreneurship, communications, computer technology, and global business management.

Source: Taravella Seniors Take on New York for Youth Business Summit – Tamarac Talk

2016 National Business Plan Competition Finalists

NBPC-Web-Image

The following 28 teams have qualified for the 2016 National Business Plan Competition, taking place on April 17 at LIU Brooklyn. This event is the most prestigious and rigorous annual business plan competition for public high school students. It challenges VEI students from across the country to demonstrate their global business expertise through written business plans and oral presentations. In order to qualify for this event, these teams have demonstrated the best written plans and oral presentations at their respective local, state, and regional competitions.

2016 Finalists

FirmSchoolCity/State
A+ OpportunityCareerline Technical CenterHolland, MI
Adventure TimePinckney Community HSPinckney, MI
AquaTerraWesthampton Beach HSWesthampton Beach, NY
Avant-garde Furnishings, Inc.Fort HamiltonBrooklyn, NY
Brooklyn's Sweet N Savory CateringFort HamiltonBrooklyn, NY
ConciergeNew DorpStaten Island, NY
Culturally Creative Cupcakes, Inc.International Prep HSBuffalo, NY
ElysiumBearden HSKnoxville, TN
EnviroscentalsMount St. MaryKenmore, NY
Envision NorthBelvidere North HSBelvidere, IL
EvoTechPatchogue Medford HSMedford, NY
FitspirationRobbinsville HSRobbinsville, NJ
Focal Point IncJP Taravella HSCoral Springs, FL
HeliosWesthampton Beach HSWesthampton Beach, NY
INKSouth Pasadena HSSouth Pasadena, CA
KarunaBakersfield HSBakersfield, CA
N.E.R.D.S. TechnologyArvin HSArvin, CA
NocogoMurrieta Valley HSMurrieta Valley, CA
ROC SecurityHewlett HSHewlett, NY
Rock SolidPerson HSRoxboro, NC
SalubreByron Nelson HSTrophy Club, TX
ScholarMEHerndon High SchoolHerndon, VA
SockscribeCentennial HSBakersfield, CA
The EdgeGranville Central HSStem, NC
The Golden SpoonGreer HSGreer, SC
TrifectaMurrieta Valley HSMurrieta Valley, CA
UnderWrapzCrystal Lake South HSCrystal Lake, IL
Vitality Inc.Bearden HSKnoxville, TN

 

Go to Youth Business Summit page

Go to 2016 National Business Plan Competition page

Featured Alumni: Lana Koretsky

lana

Lana Koretsky
Senior Consultant, Human Capital, Deloitte
Class of 2005
Edward R. Murrow High School
Brooklyn, New York

Can you briefly describe what you do in your current role?
I am a Senior Consultant within Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice. In this role, I support global organizational change management efforts for manufacturing and life sciences clients in support of business model, process, and technology transformations. I also support client initiatives around organizational design, governance, talent management, and culture.

What first comes to mind when you think back to your VE experience?
The first thing that comes to mind is my amazing Business Plan Competition team and the strong friendships I built during my time as a VE student. I am so proud and humbled by my classmates’ successes over the past decade!

What was your favorite part of VE?
I loved that every day in VE was an opportunity to shape my work and the work of my team and to learn by rolling up my sleeves and trying things out. My role in VE was VP of Human Resources, which also put me in a unique position to branch out and connect with all of the other “employees” across departments.

How does your VE experience relate to your current role? How does it relate to what you ultimately want to do in your professional life?
VE was the stepping stone to my career. In addition to learning about HR through the program, I interned with a VE partner company in their HR department the summer between high school and college. That first HR experience on my résumé subsequently led to another HR internship at a technology company, followed by my first human capital consulting internship, which ultimately led to my current role.

How did you get reconnected with VE? How do you hope to stay involved? From your perspective, what are the differences between VE now and when you had it?
I reached out to the team several months ago looking to offer my time and give back. As it turned out, the team was looking for consulting support, so I worked with my firm’s leadership to organize a pro bono project for VE. I had the opportunity to work as part of the team delivering the work, which wrapped just a couple of weeks ago. It was amazing to reconnect with and support a program that has meant so much to me. I am also excited to be participating as a judge in this year’s Business Plan Competition!

What advice do you have for current VE students?
Enjoy every minute of it! Use VE as a safe space to experiment and try out new ideas. Get creative with it, and really make the company and the experience your own.


If you are a VE alumni with a story to share and would like to reconnect with VE, please contact Tyler Fugazzie, Marketing and Communications Manager, at tyler@veinternational.org or visit our Alumni page.

Featured Alumni: Robert Lenahan

robert-iv-hero

Robert Lenahan
Founder of Hospital Heroes, LLC.
Class of 2013
William Floyd High School
Queens Village, New York

What do you currently do?
I’m currently a junior at Molloy College, pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a minor in New Media. In my time at Molloy, I co-founded the Entrepreneurship Club after discovering my passion for inventing things and building businesses. Since then, I have been developing one idea after another until my latest invention, IV Hero, a sleeve that covers an intravenous bag during treatments and is designed to make hospitals a less scary place for kids. Each sleeve is decorated with superheroes, transforming what was once an intimidating medical procedure into a creative opportunity to gain superpowers.

How did you get the inspiration for IV Hero?
I was reading an article about pediatric patients, and how they were so terrified of CAT scans and MRI machines that they actually needed to be fully sedated just to go for a scan. This was causing a number of issues, not to mention a huge deal of stress on the patients and their families. Rather than re-engineer these machines, a few folks from GE put big stickers up on the machines that made them look like submarines and pirate ships. What was once making kids cry, was now making them want to come back; they thought it was a ride at an amusement park. I thought this idea of transforming a scary experience for kids into a fun and exciting one was such an amazing way to reimagine the hospital experience, and I really wanted to focus on transforming everyday procedures that kids are put through. IV bags are a staple of the hospital room, and thus, IV Hero was born.

What first comes to mind when you think back to your VE experience?
My first thought of VE is how big of an eye-opener it was for me at such a young age. So many high schoolers just go through the motions in high school with their goals set to the future that they don’t fully utilize some of the programs at their disposal – I know because I was like that. When I began VE, it really broadened my horizons on how the business world works and I was offered the opportunity to begin building my professional persona, which gave me a huge advantage when I got to college.

What was your favorite part of VE?
By far, my favorite part of VE was being a part of the presentation team for my business. We were awarded 3rd for the region, and it felt so satisfying to put so much effort into our presentation and really have those efforts be recognized.

How does your VE experience relate to your current role? How does it relate to what you ultimately want to do in your professional life?
When I was in VE, I was the Vice President of Accounting, which ultimately helped me to form my decision on majoring in accounting. In addition, being a part of the presentation team really helped me to become a better public speaker which comprises so much of what I do today. Whether I’m speaking in front of an audience, to investors, at business competitions; being able to speak concisely and professionally is something that I have to do every day, and I can attribute that to my experience in VE.

Do you believe that your VE experience was a differentiator in helping you start with IV Hero?
VE helped me to think differently. The environment really allowed me to explore my creativity within my VE firm, and that stuck with me as I entered college and began to meet like-minded people who enjoy inventing things and building businesses. With my creativity and my background in public speaking, I began entering and winning business plan competitions which set me on this path of becoming an entrepreneur.

What advice do you have for current VE students?
Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something, or that your ideas will never work. If you’re passionate about something – do it. You never know where that idea will take you or how it will help you grow.

Find IV Hero online:

Website: http://www.ivhero.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HospHero
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hospitalheroes/


If you are a VE alumni with a story to share and would like to reconnect with VE, please contact Tyler Fugazzie, Marketing and Communications Manager, at tyler@veinternational.org or visit our Alumni page.

23 Teams Participate in Largest Illinois Business Plan Competition Yet

IMG_5975

On Friday, December 4 at Northern Illinois University-DeKalb Campus, twenty-three VEI Illinois firms competed in the 2015 Illinois Business Plan Competition. Despite an increase in the number of competing teams, Underwrapz finished in the top spot for the third year in a row. Both Underwrapz and the second place Envision North will advance to compete at the 2016 National Business Plan Competition in New York City on April 17, 2016.

All students did an amazing job and the judges were very impressed with the students’ work.  Students will use the feedback from the judges to adjust business ideas throughout the year.

Top 3 Teams

PlaceFirmSchool
1stUnderwrapzCrystal Lake South High School
2ndEnvision NorthBelvidere North High School
3rdArea 304Geneva High School

Top 8 Teams

  • Area 304, Geneva High School
  • Envision North, Belvidere North High School
  • Limitless, Elmwood Park High School
  • MetaNova, Metea Valley High School
  • NeverEnding, Metea Valley High School
  • Prime, Maine East High School
  • Skyline Entertainment, St. Charles North High School
  • Underwrapz, Crystal Lake South High School

Photos

2015 Midwest Trade Show

From November 22-23, more than 100 VEI firms from Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, New York City, South Carolina, and Tennessee gathered in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for the first Trade Show of the 2015-16 school year.

Check out more from this event at #MidwestTradeShow

NYC Students Pair with Ad Agencies to Stop Bullying

AD Futures (1)

On October 1st, 2015, the Advertising Futures Competition, a much-anticipated event of Advertising Week (the largest and most prestigious annual gathering of advertising and media industry leaders in North America) took place at Microsoft in New York City. The Competition pairs ad agency mentors with teams of students to create an advertising campaign which is based on a brief developed by the Ad Council.

Fourteen teams from Virtual Enterprise programs throughout New York City met their agency mentors and were challenged to develop a campaign to focus on “Bullying Prevention.” This initiative was to bring social awareness about the effect bullying has on children and how to create an environment where it is practically non-existent.

For the weeks leading up to the competition, students and their mentors convened with their agency partners at agency offices and worked together on developing an ad campaign. In an exciting display of creativity and innovation, students presented their original ads to a panel of advertising experts and an audience of their peers during the Twelfth Annual Advertising Futures Competition.  Agency mentors proudly cheered as the students showcased their talent and original ideas.

The first place team, from Susan E. Wagner HS, mentored by Havas HB4 Ad Agency, impressed the judges with an original, creative and playful campaign.  Students from HS of Economics & Finance, mentored by Deutsch Ad Agency, placed second.

VEI extends a special thank you to the Advertising Club, Microsoft, and advertising agency mentors who worked with our exceptionally talented students!

Written by Soteria Stavroulakis

40 NYC Student Executives Attend 2015 Fall Executive Conference

IMG_2622

On Tuesday, October 13th, 40 VEI student executives representing different firms from the five boroughs of New York City attended the 2015 Fall Executive Conference hosted by ACORD/InVest/St. John’s University. The event enabled VEI NYC students to learn about the importance of insurance and the role of a Chief Risk Officer, discover insurance career paths, and network with their peers.

Opening remarks were delivered by Soteria Stavroulakis, VEI New York City Program Coordinator and Beth Grossman from ACORD. Following the opening remarks, a panel of guest speakers; Ira Cohen, risk manager of TIAA-CREF, Tom Vouvoudakis, Production Underwriter at Scottish-American, and Tom Nowak of AIG all discussed their respective roles in the insurance industry.

In addition, Diane Mattis from InVest, an educational insurance organization, spoke about how InVest provides insurance instruction, improves student insurance literacy, and introduces career opportunities.

Following Diane Mattis was Beth Grossman of ACORD, who discussed the standardized forms that are commonly used in the insurance industry along with John Anderson of IBM who explained the use of data and analytics in order to properly evaluate risks.

Finally, Jody Queen Hubert of St. John’s University, and Thi Nguyen, a student at St. John’s spoke of the Insurance and Risk Management program that the university offers.
The day concluded with a panel of VEI NYC alumni, all former VEI CEOs themselves, who shared tips and advice with the current student executives as they prepare for the next phase of their careers. Panelists shared their personal experiences, their professional growth, and specific techniques for leveraging the VEI experience after high school.

At the end of the insightful day, VEI NYC executives were given the chance to engage in a reflective discussion about the expectations and challenges of a CEO in order to lead their firm to success.

Written by Soteria Stavroulakis 

2015 South Carolina Trade Show Recap

On Monday, February 9, 2014, 22 VEI firms attended Myrtle Beach for the bustling 2015 South Carolina Trade Show and 14 teams participated in the Southern Business Plan Competition.

Southern Regional Director Christine Haff said of the event, “For the first time our new states in the Southern Region, Florida and Texas, were able to participate in our trade show and business plan competition this year.  It was so exciting to see the students and teachers from different areas of the country interact. Four firms from North Carolina also participated in our events.” This is the 13th year this trade show was held in South Carolina.

Business Plan Competition Results

Place Firm Coordinator High School City State
1st Ever Ready Laura Burdick St. James High School Murrells Inlet South Carolina

Ever Ready will join Life’s Puritea of Byron Nelson HS in Trophy Club, Texas in going to the2015 National Business Plan Competition in New York City on April 14.

Trade Show Competition Results

Best Brochure

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Earth Market River Bluff HS
2nd Southern Prestige Spartanburg HS
3rd Eden’s Coffee and Confection Greer HS

Best Business Card

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st The Blend Orange HS
2nd Triple R Realty Academy for Technology & Academics
3rd Play Blu Loris HS

Best Catalog

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Southern Prestige Spartanburg HS
2nd Earth Market River Bluff HS
3rd Coastal Class Carolina Forest HS

Best Commercial

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Ever Ready St. James HS
2nd Life’s PuriTEA Byron Nelson HS
3rd Southern Prestige Spartanburg HS

Best Employee Manual

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Southern Prestige Spartanburg HS
2nd Southern Splash White Knoll HS
3rd Eden’s Coffee and Confection Greer HS

Best Newsletter

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Southern Prestige Spartanburg HS
2nd Earth Market River Bluff HS
3rd Play Blu Loris HS

Best Trade Show Flyer

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Smooth Move St. James HS
2nd Southern Prestige Spartanburg HS
3rd Life’s PuriTEA Byron Nelson HS

Best Web Design Basic

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Earth Market River Bluff HS
2nd Life’s PuriTEA Byron Nelson HS
3rd Southern Splash White Knoll HS

Best Booth

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Earth Market River Bluff HS
2nd Coastal Class Carolina Forest HS
3rd Eden’s Coffee and Confection Greer HS

Best Impact Marketing

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Life’s PuriTEA Byron Nelson HS
2nd Southern Splash White Knoll HS
3rd Smooth Move St. James HS

Best Salesmanship

Place VEI Firm School/Location
1st Earth Market River Bluff HS
2nd Southern Splash White Knoll HS
3rd Life’s PuriTEA Byron Nelson HS

 

Event Photos

BPCoastal1

BPEverReady1

image1

Best Booth

IMG_0122 IMG_0105 IMG_0114 IMG_0095 IMG_0127