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Murrieta Valley High's Virtual Enterprise teams qualify for national competition


Last updated 3/7/2019 at 10:57pm

Anna Holman photo

Teams and students from the Murrieta Valley High School's Virtual Enterprise program have qualified to compete in next month's Virtual Enterprise national championship competitions in New York City.

The Murrieta Valley High School Virtual Enterprise teams – "Nurture" and "Safe N' Sound" – did well enough at the California State Virtual Enterprise competition in Bakersfield, Jan. 16-17, to qualify for the National Business Plan Championships in mid-April in New York City.

According to Joel Levin, teacher and coordinator of the Virtual Enterprise program at Murrieta Valley, it will be the eighth consecutive year at least one team from the school is headed to compete in New York and the fifth year in a row that both teams have qualified.

In the two-day competition, at least one of the teams received an award in 10 of the 11 competitive categories.

"It is a thrill and a joy to see both teams qualify for the National Business Plan Championships every year for the past eight years," Levin said. "The students devote so much time and effort to this and to see their commitment pay off is such validation of the concept that hard work does get rewarded."

In addition to the business plan teams, Murrieta Valley will have many other students competing in other categories such as marketing plan, human resources, financial and sales.

"All of the students will not only be benefiting from the competition but the overall experience of going to New York and taking in all of the historic sites," Levin said. "It is quite an experience each year."

Every school year, students accepted into the Virtual Enterprise program apply for positions on the teams that will create a simulated business that operates in a competitive environment with the goals of educating students with key knowledge needed with developing a business.

Each department of both businesses is charged with creating a marketing plan, an employee handbook, developing radio and video commercials, designing and building a trade show booth and more.

Basically, everything a small business would need for success.

This year, Safe N' Sound, a company that produces fashionable jewelry that also serves as a safety mechanism; and Nurture, a healthy fruit bowl food truck company, were chosen.

Each year, Levin said, the competition performance level for each team is raised.

"Our VE program has taken on a life of its own," Levin said. "There is an expectation that the students have for themselves when they get accepted into the program. They are motivated by wanting to do even better than the teams that came before them. Since the students are able to take VE for two years, the returners are able to guide the new students and set the tone, but the new students are also aware of the reputation of Murrieta Valley Virtual Enterprise and are determined to uphold it."

That expectation of success and drive to show well at the national championships means the teams are busy preparing.

"We are now hard at work revising and perfecting our written business plan, which accounts for 30 percent of their overall score," Levin said. "Once that is submitted, the students will work on their overall presentation, which includes the PowerPoint slideshow and oral presentation.

"In addition to practicing the presentation with me on a regular basis, we will also do practice presentations in front of panels that we assemble, in order to get feedback from real-world business people who can comment on the viability of the business idea, and question them as if they were the judges in New York," Levin said.

The teams will practice their presentations, he said, in the Murrieta City Council chambers in April.

After all the practice and preparation, the teams have lofty goals.

Anna Holman photo

Nurture placed fifth at the California State Virtual Enterprise Business Plan competition. The team is led by Grant Castaneda, Katrina Petchers, Samantha Miles, Desirae Manley, Josh Vaughan and Paris Campbell. Virtual Enterprise program teacher and coordinator, Joel Levin, is at left.

"Both teams have the goal of taking home a first place trophy at the national competition," Levin said. "For me, I always tell the kids that our goal is to take first and second place, and I don't care which team is which. Of course, they don't see it the same way. That's the most difficult part of having two teams."

Last year, one of Murrieta Valley's teams came in second place, and each of the two years before, a team has placed third.

"We have come close," Levin said. "While that first place national has been elusive, I firmly believe that both teams this year have an excellent chance to win it all. Since this is a judged competition, you just never know how it's going to turn out until the results are announced."

As the competition season is coming to a close, the program is now seeking adult volunteers and support for the next school year.

The teams will be on display locally at the 2019 Murrieta Valley Virtual Enterprise Showcase set for 6 to 8 p.m., March 19, at the Murrieta Valley High School library.

Individuals or businesses interested in supporting the program are asked to contact Levin at [email protected]

Jeff Pack can be reached at [email protected]


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