By: Sharon Aron Baron
JP Taravella High School Business Ownership students won first place at the first-ever Florida Virtual Enterprise Business Plan Competition on Wednesday at the Wayne Huizenga School of Business at Nova Southeastern University.
Under the direction of teacher Laurie Acosta, the team of six students represented their 25-person “firm,” called Focal Point, Inc., and presented a plan they wrote together for an online visual directory that operates in the Virtual Enterprises International (VEI) marketplace. The students, all seniors, include CEO Aaron Mitchell, VP Human Resources Chloe Roque, VP Sales Lauren Echols, VP Communications Rachelle Serrano, Communications Manager Michael Hazan and Chief Financial Officer Kaylon Schmidt.
Besides JP Taravella in Coral Springs, the competition, included student-run VE firms from Tampa (two firms), Hialeah-Miami Lakes, and Piper High School in Sunrise.
Taravella and Piper launched their VEI programs this fall and are the first two high schools in Broward County. They join a network of more than 500 high schools offering this honors-level program throughout the United States, and nearly 5,000 world-wide. Virtual Enterprises International 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 business, problem-solving, communication, personal finance and technology. Student firms are connected to one another through an online portal, where they learn how to complete departmental/individual tasks, manage personal and company finances, communicate with other firms, and market their products or services.
“What makes this program so special is that students get to learn about running a business by doing it,” said Laurie Acosta. “I love watching them work together to accomplish the day-to-day tasks involved in running a company, and dealing with the ups and downs that every business faces. It’s been an incredible learning experience for them and for me.”
The National Competition will be April 17, 2016. Stay tuned for the results.