Jefferson High’s Virtual Enterprises (VE) International program is a course where students study entrepreneurship by creating and running their own business.
“This is the Capstone course for our Business and Finance Magnet students,” said Rochelle Stanfill, Jefferson High’s Virtual Enterprises teacher. “They spend three years studying the basics of finance and get to bring it to life by running their own Firm their senior year.”
How does it work?
In this program, Career and Technical Education (CTE) students turn the classroom into a simulated work environment where students fill organizational roles such as CEO and HR Manager and serve as consumers for other VE businesses operating in a Virtual Economy.
The Firm (class) is completely student run. Once Mrs. Stanfill selects the class’s CEO, he or she takes complete control of the Firm. The CEO interviews and hires classmates to fill leadership roles for their Firm. The students go on to develop a mission statement, a logo and run the finances of the business – including a creative sales team which brings in (virtual) revenue.
The goal: to design and pitch a thorough business plan to industry professionals much like the reality show, Shark Tank.
“I love that this is a team-focused class,” said Amare Harris, a Senior at Jefferson High and the Firm’s CEO. “All 27 of us have to collaborate in order for our business to thrive.”
Business partners provide guidance, resources, curriculum development, opportunities and advocacy while connecting students to the real world of business.
Mrs. Stanfill takes the real-world simulation a step further by “billing” the Firm’s finance department if they reach out to her as a consultant...(ask her questions).
“It is extremely difficult for a teacher to step back and allow students to learn and grow from their own successes and failures,” said Larissa Lizarraga, HCPS Career, Technical and Adult Education Supervisor. “It’s amazing to watch as Mrs. Stanfill provides the necessary guidance to keep students engaged and motivated!”
Fun Fact – 87% of VE students identify a career pathway of interest because of VE
“We learn to communicate with each other and build skills that are expected from us in the workplace,” said Valeria Yepez, a senior at Jefferson High and the Firm’s CFO. “No matter what we want to do for a living, these are the skills that are going to give us a head start at being successful once we graduate.”
What was once the only Virtual Enterprises Program in Florida, Jefferson’s VE Program has seen tremendous success. In prior years, students have presented their Business Plan at a regional competition in South Florida and participated in a Trade Show Competition at the Youth Business Summit in New York—earning third place out of more than 400 schools.
"They learn leadership, technology skills and how to function as a professional,“ said Mrs. Stanfill. “It’s so rewarding watching the students work as a team and unleash their true potential,”
Learn more about VE and other programs offered at Jefferson High at https://www.mysdhc.org/jefferson