Forever Froyo’s Grand Opening at Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach was a huge success, as hundreds of students and staff participated to make the event a real-world simulation. Forever Froyo partnered with The Skinny Dip Frozen Yogurt Bar, which enabled them to give out real yogurt samples to all who made virtual purchases.
Check out this article from the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce explaining how VEI plants the seeds for student success by “creating a passion for entrepreneurship in young people.” It details what VEI is, how the program benefits students, and gives a sampling of what happens at the major events hosted by VEI Virginia.
Originally published in The Chamber Review.
The annual Youth Business Summit, sponsored by the New York Life Foundation, brought together up-and-coming entrepreneurs from around the corner and across the globe to take part in VEI’s three signature student events — the National Business Plan Competition, Global Business Challenge, and International Trade Show. The New York Life Foundation’s generous $1 million gift to VEI not only helped to underwrite the Summit, but also supports VEI’s current expansion efforts. Organized in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education, this year’s Youth Business Summit challenged VEI students and their counterparts in other countries to showcase the skills they have acquired in entrepreneurship, communications, technology, and global business management—all key components of the VEI program.
On Tuesday, April 9, nearly 200 students from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Germany, Indonesia, Romania, and the United States gathered at the beautiful NYU Kimmel Center for VEI’s Global Business Challenge, sponsored by HSBC. With views of the historic Washington Square Park in New York’s Greenwich Village, students were welcomed by the President of NYU, Dr. John Sexton and Heather Nesle, Vice President of HSBC’s Corporate Sustainability. Jane Ubell, a motivational speaker, kicked off the competition with a stimulating and inspirational talk about the 10 things entrepreneurs must to know. The students were then presented with a challenge from a Starbucks’ Business Study. They had two hours to solve the challenge, working in 24 multinational teams. They presented their findings to a panel of judges. The top six teams faced off in a championship round. Students left with a greater understanding of different cultures and global business, as well as with new friends.
Later that day, 350 VEI supporters from business and education communities gathered at the Tribeca Rooftop for VEI’s inaugural benefit, An Evening to Benefit Virtual Enterprises International. Dennis Walcott presented the Dr. Noel N. Kriftcher Service to Education Award to Deloitte’s CEO, Joe Echevarria. The Deputy CEO, Robert Kueppers accepted the award on his behalf. The evening was emceed by Cat Greenleaf of NBC’s Talk Stoop. Highlights of the evening included inspirational presentations by three current VEI students from California and New York and a VEI alumna.
The next day, VEI’s National Business Plan Competition took place at the McGraw Hill Financial Headquarters. Twenty-one VEI teams, finalists from local and regional competitions from all across America, presented their business plans, which they have perfected over the course of the year. Top honors went to Ripple, Inc. from Centennial High School in Bakersfield, CA, with VE Law & Insurance from Staten Island, NY and Southern Splash from White Knoll High School in Lexington, SC taking second and third places. The first-place winners took home Apple iPad Minis and headphones; the runners up received iPad Minis and the third-place team received Kindle Fire tablet readers.
On the Summit’s final day, Thursday, April 11, nearly 3,000 young entrepreneurs from around the world came together for VEI’s International Trade Show, a forum for students to exhibit and sell the products and services of their virtual companies in a competitive marketplace. Chris Park, the President of New York Life Foundation, welcomed the teams from around the world and cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the Trade Show. The event was a huge success, with most of the companies meeting their sales goals. Equally important were the friendships and the contacts that were made and the ideas that were exchanged. The 150 businesses represented competed for awards in the categories of Best Sales Pitch, Best Booth Design, Best Advanced and Basic Web Design, and Best Catalog. Some teams left with award plaques and trophies, but every team went home a winner.
2013 Youth Business Summit Results
Mark your calendars! The 2014 Youth Business Summit is scheduled for April 1-3.
On February 23, a group of 12 Virtual Enterprise students and 3 from New York City journeyed to Belgium to participate in the annual Belfair. As part of their trip, which was organized in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, the students were matched with host families from the Provencial Hogeschool Limburg (or PHL) in Hasselt, Belgium. The students stayed with their host families and had the opportunity to experience the culture of Belgium as they took part in classes and discussions with their Belgian counterparts.
The PHL hosts were part of the practice firm, Work It Easy, and will be making a return trip in the spring to attend the 2013 Youth Business Summit, which includes the NYC International Trade Show, National Business Plan Competition, and Global Business Challenge, held in New York City on April 9-11, 2013.
On Tuesday, February 26, Belgian students and teachers hosted “American Night” at PHL, which consisted of American hamburgers and a quiz night with over 300 people in attendance. The night was a fundraising opportunity for the PHL students to raise funds for their trip to New York City.
The 2013 Belfair was hosted in the beautiful city of Gent on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Amidst the more than 100 exhibitors, the American firms were a huge success, attracting a great deal of attention from the European students and generating sales of more than 200,000 Euros between the following twelve VEI firms:
- Apparatus Sporting Goods – Norman Thomas High School
- Assurance Service for Advanced Progress (ASAP) – Academy of Finance & Enterprise
- Facio – InTech Academy
- Fashion Forward – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School
- ImagiNation, Inc – High School for Arts, Imagination & Inquiry
- Infinite Investment Solutions – Academy of Finance & Enterprise
- Munchies Inc – Sheepshead Bay High School
- New Horizons – Richmond Hill High School
- Solarity – New Dorp High School
- Sweet ‘N Savory Catering – Fort Hamilton High School
- VE Law & Insurance – New Dorp High School
- VReal Magazine – Francis Lewis High School
The week concluded with a sightseeing and shopping expedition in Brussels, where Belgium’s hallmark chocolates and waffles were enjoyed by all.
Of course, no business trip would be complete without opportunities to make long-lasting connections. Students and chaperones alike eagerly await the opportunity to host their new Belgian friends as they make their way to the Big Apple this spring. A very special thank you goes to Veerle Gelders and the entire staff at the Provencial Hogeschool Limburg for coordinating this fantastic trip.
Sponsored by the New York State CTE Technical Assistance Center, this webinar provides attendees with a comprehensive overview of the Virtual Enterprises International (VEI) program model and demonstrates the significant achievement of students involved in the program. It also covers:
- VEI’s task -based curriculum
- The wholesale marketplace
- The national and international directories of VEI companies
- The web-based banking system
- Other rich resources provided for teachers and students.
Note: The recorded webinar will be available for streaming soon, and may be downloaded by clicking the following link.
Iris Blanc, National Director, Virtual Enterprises International
Nick Chapman, Former VEI Coordinator and current Program Coordinator for NYC VEI office of the New York City Department of Education
Watch a short video about VEI
If you would like more information about implementing a VEI program in your school, please contact Iris Blanc at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With emphasis on college and career readiness, VEI is an in-school, live, global business simulation that offers students a competitive edge through project-based, collaborative learning and the development of 21st-century skills in entrepreneurship, global awareness, problem solving, communication, financial literacy and technology. The program, which exists in over 40 countries, replicates all the functions of real businesses in both structure and practice. Under the guidance of a teacher-facilitator and business mentors, students create and manage their virtual businesses from product development through distribution and trade with other Virtual Enterprise firms nationwide and worldwide. Read more
National Business Plan Competition
See Videos of the Finalist Teams’ Presentations!
Abeille from Costa Mesa High School, Costa Mesa, CA
Bon Voyage Travel from Fort Hamilton High School, Brooklyn, NY
Helios from South Pasadena High School, South Pasadena, CA
Play By Play Productions from Murietta Valley High School, Murietta Valley, CA
Solarity from New Dorp High School, Staten Island, NY
The Great Park Wildlife Center from Costa Mesa High School, Costa Mesa, CA
1st Place: Bon Voyage Travel from Fort Hamilton High School, Brooklyn, NY
Teacher: Mary Grace Alfredo
Team members: Ricardo Espinoza, Lily Kuong, Tiffany Low, Alan Oms, Selina Zhang, Benjamin Zhao
2nd Place: The Great Park Wildlife Center from Costa Mesa High School, Costa Mesa, CA
Teacher: Mike Sciacca
Team members: Meghan Clevenger, Brooke Morrow, Cesar Chavez, Harry Do, Caitlyn Brock, Ashley Neppl
3rd Place: Solarity from New Dorp High School, Staten Island, NY
Teacher: Paul Presti
Team members: Tony Santangelo, Breanna Ovalle, Samantha Lopez, Michelene Wilkerson, John Gonzalez, Daniel Tsygankov
Global Business Challenge
1st Place: Team # 15
Team members: Suzan Morina (Germany), Julisa Sanchez (California), Gina Abraham (New York), Rayssa Favato (Brazil) Truman Hance (California), Gabriela Larasati (Indonesia)
2nd Place: Team # 19
Team members: Dane Zarba (New York), Cae Chow (New York), Benjamin Hutto (South Carolina), Sabrina Ayana (Indonesia), Sonja Ditrich (Austria), Sander Paredis (Belgium)
3rd Place: Team # 18
Team members: Brandon Felts (North Carolina), Boedi Seftian Dwi Putra (Indonesia), Saiqa Khaskhali (New York), Kennedy McGill (South Carolina), Reyhannilo Yusuf Andi Kasim (Indonesia), Adrian-Horea Buzlea (Romania)
International Trade Show Competitions
1st Place: Velocity International from Forest Hills HS , Forest Hills, NY
2nd Place: Bon Voyage Travel from Fort Hamilton HS, Brooklyn, NY
3rd Place: L.I.F.E. from HS for Economics & Finance, New York, NY
4th Place: The Animal Kingdom from Loretto HS, Loretto, TN
5th Place: Sweet Temptation Ltd. from National Trade and Banking HS , Sofia, Bulgaria
Website Competition, Basic
1st Place: Cupcake Break from JFK HS, Bellmore, NY
2nd Place: Click-In Pets Inc. from Hawthorne High, Hawthorne, CA
3rd Place: Simply Sweets from Pittsford Mendon HS, Pittsford, NY
Website Competition, Advanced
1st Place: Nusantara Virtual Company from Sekolah HIghScope Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia
2nd Place: Helios from South Pasadena HS, South Pasadena, CA
3rd Place: STF “Magic Moment” Ltd. from National Trade and Banking HS, Sofia, Bulgaria
Detailed Catalog and Website Results
Sales Pitch and Booth Competition Results
This story appears on US Chamber of Commerce website, freeenterprise.com.
By Caitlin Codella
What do you get when you take 10,000 high school students from 500 schools and transform the conventional way of learning? The answer may surprise you.
Virtual Enterprises International (VEI), in collaboration with more than 500 business partners, is an in-school entrepreneurship program and global business simulation that transforms students into business executives and classrooms into offices. The year-long program replicates all of the functions and demands of a real business. Students work with a teacher-facilitator and a business executive to develop business plans, manage the day-to-day operations, and negotiate with other student-run simulated businesses throughout the world.
This creative program allows students to experience entrepreneurship through product development, distribution, marketing, sales, human resources, finance, and accounting. As “employees” of the virtual business, students are also accountable for the firm’s performance. They conduct market research, develop business plans and annual reports, pay wages and taxes, and even maintain 401(k) plans.
This rigorous curriculum offers students a competitive edge through project-based, collaborative learning and the development of 21st century skills in problem solving, communication, financial literacy, and technology. All of this helps center the students on the focal point of the program—college- and -career readiness.
A report conducted by Columbia University’s Institute on Education and the Economy analyzed the impact VEI has on student learning.
Their findings include:
- Seventy nine percent say they have developed a realistic expectation of the workplace.
- Fifty three percent indicate the program has motivated them to do better in other classes.
- Sixty seven percent note that VEI helped them focus on what they wanted to study in college.
- Ninety one percent of VEI seniors, which includes a vast majority of kids from underrepresented groups, will go to college.
Results like this don’t come without collaboration. “A program like VEI can’t be successful in a vacuum. Our success over the past 16 years is the direct result of collaboration with the business community and with higher education.” said Eddy Bayardelle, president of Virtual Enterprise International. “In addition to learning about business, our students become part of the business community through mentorships, internships, and events that bring business executives into their classrooms and into their lives. It’s all about building those connections.”
Closing the skills gap is crucial to the competitiveness of America’s future economy. It is imperative that businesses and organizations collaborate to find new and innovative ways to get kids involved and excited for the future—a brighter future thanks to VEI.
To learn more about Virtual Enterprises International, please visit their website.
Featured on NY1.com
Report By Jon Weinstein
The latest Scholar Athlete of the Week is an outstanding student who heads his school’s online magazine and rises above disability on the track team.
See Vreal’s first issue!
[embed: src=””//youtu.be/O4R86ccfOGc” wmode=”transparent” width=”570″ height=”100%”]
Jeffrey Grinberg is more than a student at Francis Lewis High School. His teachers and classmates call him an inspiration.
Grinberg was born three months premature, and certain antibiotics he was given as a baby resulted in severe hearing loss.
“I wasn’t technically diagnosed with it until I was five and I was in kindergarten and teachers were starting say, ‘oh, this guy’s a rebel, he’s not listening to any of my directions,’” says Jeffrey.
But he’s anything but a rebel. He doesn’t use his disability as an excuse. Instead, his teachers say he just works harder than nearly anyone else. He’s an outstanding student with an A+ average.
“You don’t see disability when you look at Jeffrey. That’s the last thing that you see. You see determination, you see ability, you see goals being set, goals being met,” says Isai Serrano, Jeffrey’s Virtual Enterprise teacher.
Jeffrey’s hard work is most evident in that Virtual Enterprise class, where he’s CEO of the online magazine created with his fellow students.
Perhaps his most endearing quality is his willingness to help others at any time. Whether it’s his track teammates or a random student, his teachers say he offers academic and other kinds of advice.
“Anything the team asks him, he’ll do it. If he needs to tutor a team member, he’ll do it. If we need another leg on the relay, he’ll go ahead and do it. If another team member needs a uniform, he’s prepared to give it up for him,” says Ralph Montanaro, Jeffrey’s track coach. “He’s just exceptional.”
“You know, it just feels nice. It makes me happy, happy to see other people happy, you know, it’s a great thing, a good feeling,” says Jeffrey.
Jeffrey is setting his sights high when it comes to college. He’s applying to some of the best in the country.
He plans to study either computer engineering or business and has all the confidence in the world that he’ll be successful.
“Just because I have a disability didn’t stop me from doing what I want to do—following my dream, get where I want to get,” says Jeffrey.
For overcoming adversity and embracing the challenges along the way, Jeffrey Grinberg is the latest Health Plus/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.