The 2019-2020 Virtual Enterprise course was set with an entirely new group of students ready for a challenge. Though faced with adversity in the beginning of the year with a district wide technology outage, the student-run business began to thrive going into second quarter.
VEI is not your regular classroom setting and most of the school doesn’t really know much about the class itself. Students in the Business Academy who have interest in entrepreneurship primarily take the course and at the beginning of the year are interviewed into a department and position much like a real world job. A CEO and team of chiefs are chosen, and the rest of the class is divided into four departments; marketing, information technology, human resources and accounting. The class then chooses their name and product that they will sell to other firms through an online system and at trade show competitions.
“The class as a whole has gotten more comfortable with running a virtual business since the beginning, and we did good at our first competition, it was a nice way to get our feet wet before we went to chicago for the big competition,” said Ian Knapp, CFO and class of 2020.
East’s VEI team altered the company slightly from years past to create Evolve Entertainment. In preparation for their first trade show competition in February, the students began making sales and running the website all-the-while creating different components for the competition itself.
“VEI has taught me how to interact in the business world and how to carry myself to succeed,” said Elesea Galvan, COO and class of 2021.
East competed at Rockford University against Belvidere North, Auburn, and Guilford for their first of two trade shows. Evolve Entertainment competed in the logo, business card, commercial, business pitch, business plan and overall booth categories.
“I thought we did pretty well, but there is always room for improvement. Some of the kids exceled, and some kids were still getting the feel of the water. When you look at this class, they learn by doing it, not by me giving lectures, and they took that into the competition,” said Allen Noland, virtual enterprise teacher.
East VEI brought home some hardware from the competition, taking second place in the commercial competition, first place in the logo and business card competition and first place in the overall booth competition. There was a lot of work and editing to be done, but East is now focused on preparing for its next competition that will be held in Chicago against more schools firms. Hoping to bring home more awards, East VEI continued the hard work and continued to renovate and make sales. As the face of the Business Academy, Evolve Entertainment was proof that you can always persevere, even when the most difficult challenges try to defy you. As a virtually run business, being without technology didn’t stop East’s VEI program from leading the race. Students in VEI will take the skills they learn from this course into the real world and evolve the future of business.