It’s a growing worldwide educational trend embraced by Oak Ridge HIgh School: A business class that operates as a real-world virtual company, giving students a chance to learn every aspect of what it takes to run a successful business, including how to become a CEO.
It’s called “Virtual Enterprises.”
Inside Oak Ridge High School, business is booming in the VE classroom.
A team of students is assigned to sales, web design, HR, marketing, accounting, even a CEO.
It’s all part of a virtual company called Cynosure Telecom.
“We have drones, we have laptops, we have gaming consoles, iPads,” explains student Brett Blair.
The students’ goal is to “sell” their virtual products to other virtual companies online or in person.
Every year, the class boards a school bus to attend the annual Southern Regional Competition and Trade Show in Pigeon Forge.
More than 1,000 students set up booths to do face-to-face sales pitches with each other.
Holly Cross is Career Readiness Communications Supervisor. She says, “they also get a feel for what it’s like to actually be in a place where all that commerce is going on. It’s very exciting.”
Virtual sales at Oak Ridge High are up this year.
The VE team’s facilitator, Teresa Ledden, credits their mindset.
“They are very outgoing. We have some that I think are natural salespersons and did not mind at all to walk up to other students and adults to ask them to come to our booth and purchase our products,” Ledden explains.
From time to time, the group has bene able to make a trip to New York City where the Virtual Enterprises concept began, to learn doing business on a global level.
It appealed to senior Amanda Shear, already working at a bank in the real world, VE has helped her firm up her decision for her future.
“I’d like to get my master’s in accounting and get certified as a CPA and a CMA which is a certified managerial accountant, so I like telling people what to do, because this year , I’m the CEO,” Amanda told us with a smile.
We met this team of students and their teacher at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Awards Program May 7th. Proceeds from the breakfast support the VE team’s participation in the student competitions every year. They’ve done very well.
Other businesses in our area are encouraged to support this program.
If you’d like to make a donation to Oak Ridge High School’s Virtual Enterprises program, call the school at 865-410-9515 and ask for Teresa Ledden with Virtual Enterprises.