Judge Training

Prepare to be a VE Judge in just 15 minutes, make a lifetime impact on students

Welcome, Judges!

Dear Judges,

On behalf of the VE staff, our facilitators and students, we thank you for sharing your valuable time, feedback and expertise as a competition judge. For the last 25 years, VE has served over 200,000 young people in its mission to transform students through authentic business experiences that prepare them for fulfilling, financially secure futures.

Please review the resources, materials and instructions on this page thoroughly in order to prepare to be a judge. If you have any questions, please see our support section on this page for troubleshooting tips or contact information.


The VE Team

Part I: Understanding VE

Approximately 3 minutes

About VE – Video 1 out of 2

Approximately 3 minutes

How VE Works – Video 2 out of 2

Part 2: Competition Overview

Competitions are designed as an opportunity for VE students to showcase the professional skills and business acumen they have developed by launching and running a VE company.

Regional Local Competitions occur in the following regions: Long Island, NYC/Metro, Northeast, Midwest, Southern, Western

Three Types of Judging Opportunities

Online Judge

Judges to review and score student elevator pitch, branding, video commercial and more!

Business Plan Competition Judge

Judges to review and score student elevator pitch, branding, video commercial and more! Judges to read executive summaries, watch presentations, and provide students with feedback.

Guest Shoppers

Guest shopper to talk to students and make “purchases” from VE firms.

Part 3: Competitions Manager

Using the Competitions Manager to Judge

  1. Before each competition, you will receive an email with a registration link to log in or create an account to access the competition on the VE Competitions Manager.
  2. Once logged in, scroll down to the appropriate competition and click on Details to review the guidelines and rubric for the competition.
  3. After selecting a competition, use your expertise to deliver ratings and helpful feedback to the competing firms!
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For New Judges
For Returning Judges
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Each team that you are assigned will be presented here
Start Judging

Part 4: Live Presentations

Joining the Zoom

  1. Look for the email and/or calendar invite from Erika Apupalo (eapupalo@veinternational.org) to locate your competition Zoom link. (Zoom links will be provided a few days prior to each competition.)
  2. Be sure your Zoom account reflects your name to make it easier for the VE team to identify judges in the waiting room.
  3. Once in the meeting, VE staff will go over important details and instructions 15 minutes before the presentations begin.
  4. You will then be moved into breakout rooms to prepare for incoming student presentations.
    ○ The breakout room will consist of a VE staff moderator who will introduce judges, keep track of the time, and facilitate the Q&A and feedback sessions and make sure everyone has the links needed for the session.
  5. Once students enter the breakout room, they will share their screen and present their business plans. Each competition will include a team’s oral presentation and Q&A session with judges.

Main Room: Judges Orientation

Breakout Rooms: Student Presentations

Q&A Session

The Q&A session is a 5- to 10-minute time frame to ask the VE students questions about their presentation and their business.

Q&A Do’s
  • Refer to the list of questions provided by VE for your competition.
  • Be respectful of all participants’ time when asking multiple questions and follow the guidance of the VE moderator.
Q&A Don’ts
  • “Why is your target market Gen Z and not ____?”
    • VE Context: VE firms and students primarily buy and sell from each other, making themselves (students aged 13-18) their own target market.
    • Instead ask: How are you appealing to your target market?
  • “Why are your payroll expenses so high?”
    • VE Context: In the VE program, firms are made up of the entire VE class. Although unconventional for a start-up to have 30 employees, in the VE world, it’s expected based on the class size.
    • Instead ask: What is your strategy to increase profits if your projected sales fall short?
  • “How is this product produced and shipped?”
    • VE Context: VE firms purchase and re-sell products and services from the VE Wholesale Marketplace, so they may not encounter all real-world costs. Products are “shipped” to customers through email, but firms apply shipping costs based on real-world shipping rates as a business expense.

Feedback Session

The feedback session is an opportunity for students to receive immediate, helpful input from our judges. This time is meant to help students understand their strengths and to identify areas for improvement. Effective feedback includes specific guidance and clear actionable steps the team can take back to their firm to implement improvements. 

Feedback Do’s
  • “Your explanation of the problem experienced by your customers was clearly articulated, but I would suggest conducting additional customer research to better support and describe how your products help to solve the problem.”
Feedback Don’ts
  • “This would never work in the real world!” 
    • VE Context: It is important to keep in mind that the VE program is a simulated economy primarily comprised of high school students. Often, business ideas that may not work in the real world are highly successful in the VE environment.
  • “I would never invest in a business like this.”
    • VE Context: The role of a VE judge is to evaluate the quality of the work demonstrated by VE students, regardless of the judge’s personal interest in a particular business.
    • Instead try: “Though I do not fall under the target market for this business, I invite you to consider the following suggestions to improve the concept…”

COVID Considerations

Holding this competition during the pandemic has resulted in many required modifications, and we thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. Some teams will be presenting remotely, others will have some or all in person. Often teams are faced with challenges beyond their control, such as being required to wear masks or other restrictions. Students at this age are very sensitive, and we thank you in advance for being mindful of their circumstances.

Part 5: Complete Judge Training Form

All judges must complete the Judges Training Form below in order to participate as a Judge for a business competition.

If you do not see the form below, you can click here or copy and paste this link into the address bar: https://form.jotform.com/212934157766161

Judges Code of Ethics

By serving as a judge for a Virtual Enterprises, International competition, I agree to evaluate student work and performance in a fair, unbiased, and impartial manner. I fully commit to:

  • make my evaluations based entirely on the teams’ or student’s presentation or deliverables,
  • give scores based solely on my own review of the team(s) or student(s) and not be influenced by other judges’ opinions, comments, or scoring, and
  • judging without discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, or sexual orientation.


Tips & Troubleshooting

Use your desktop computer or laptop to access the Competitions Manager.

Each competition has a direct Competitions Manager link (begins with “register.veinternational.org/”) that allows you to access the student materials, rubric, and scoring platform.

We recommend using Google Chrome as your internet browser for the best experience in accessing the Competitions Manager.

Click this link to reset your password if you have trouble logging into the Competitions Manager.

Programs Contact

For questions regarding accessing the Competitions Manager or any other related technical issues, please contact:

Volunteer Contact

For general questions about volunteering, VE, or other questions, please contact:

Gina Pol
National Program Director

Erika Apupalo
Engagement Coordinator