Virtual Enterprises Provide
In an atmosphere that fosters business acumen, approximately 1,300 enterprising Long Island students, representing more than seventy schools, showcased their “virtual businesses” at a trade show competition. Among those participating at the Sixth Annual Long Island Virtual Enterprises Business Plan Competition and Trade Show held at Farmingdale State College were three Sayville businesses from the High School’s Virtual Enterprise International* classes.
At last year’s Trade Show, the Sayville virtual business Ohana Surfboard Company, a fledgling firm in its first-year, had placed Third for “most enthusiastic firm.” Now, in its second year at the competition, the Surfboard/Vacation package firm brought its experience to bear. With a motto “A Day Surfing is Better than a Day Working,” the Ohana Surfboard Company—Ohana which means family in Hawaiian— advertises that it helps its customers “find the perfect board to accompany their and their family's water experience. Our surf and paddleboard vacations and products are of the utmost quality, and are offered at a competitive price. Ohana Surfboard Company is targeted towards not only surfers, but to anyone that enjoys time on the water.”
At this year’s Trade Show, Ohana Surfboard Company’s impressive presentation and sales pitch earned much attention and received Second Place for Firm Favorite Booth, a ranking they received from their peers among the other Long Island schools in attendance.
Sayville teacher and VEI facilitator Chad Cross was very excited with their success and acknowledged the industrious Sayville students that comprised Ohana Surfboard Company: Nicholas Glatman, Mike McKillop, Mike Corwin, Tim Kanaley, Drew Greffner, and Matt Sesack, the firm’s employees who designed and set up the booth. “The firm sold over tens of thousands in merchandise and vacations during the course of the trade show.” (See their website link at the bottom of the page.)
In addition, two other Sayville virtual companies Food Dudes (with Mr. Pace, Facilitator) and Above N’ Below (with Mr. Cross, Facilitator) entered the Trade Show.
- Although Food Dudes, like Ohana, was also a second-year firm, this virtual business was represented by both new students and some experienced students in the Virtual Enterprise curriculum. Its website explains that the food service it provides is “convenient and fast with hot ready to go meals or even just a snack. We have a huge variety of meals ranging from a hot juicy steak to a simple snack.” Food Dudes CEO Nicholas Moosa along with COO Michael Pace, VP of Marketing and Sales Jack Marshall, and CFO Dan Cliff presented the Business plan to the judges at the conference. The trade show booth was staffed by Robert Cascio, Josh Ojeda, Bryan Bartell, Cody Bostinto, Michael Castagna, Jad Iliya, Ryan MacDevitt, Aidan Morrell, Ryan Seibert, Justin Sgroi, Justin Zegel, Joe Zoller, Jake Sheridan, Jacob Cheshire, and Christian Keghlian. The firm sold over $70,000 worth of subscriptions to its meal service. (See their website link at the bottom of the page.)
- Making its debut was the first-year firm Above N’ Below, described on its website as follows: “Our business is made to help adventurous people find their adventures with ease. Our goal is to make our courageous customer’s planning easier, so they don't have to go through all the trouble that booking can bring. All of our employees have the passion to help our customers. We want our company to grow. We plan to make a solid profit but also donate ten percent of profits to help the environment.” It’s Chief Executive Officer Sarin Baldante, Director of Finance Sam Yost, Vice President of Human Resources Caroline Rupp, and Tyler Prior Marketing Associate presented the business plan to a panel of judges. The trade show booth was staffed by Andrew Ohman, Amanda Pacholik, Anthony Martino, Ryan Wilson, Ryan Wilson, Scott McFadden, Meghan Aversano, and Will Casaburi. (See their website link at the bottom of the page.)
Summing up the valuable opportunities afforded the Sayville students at the Farmingdale Trade Show, Sayville High School VEI teacher Chad Cross remarked, “Our students from all three firms learned and experienced how to deliver a business plan presentation to a panel of judges, sell products and services, and network with other students employed by other VEI firms from Long Island.”
With these insights, the Sayville VEI Students will continue their preparations for the upcoming Youth Business Summit in New York City. Mr. Cross anticipates that the Summit will give these Sayville VEI students the opportunity to “connect with 3,000 participants (students, teachers, administrators, business and college partners) from around the world, promote their products and services, build brand awareness by delivering their company message directly to potential customers from across the country and around the world, create relationships with new target groups, and meet college representatives.”
Gail Devers, three-time Olympic gold medalist, said, “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” Sayville’s ambitious VEI students have obviously made the decision to do just that.
*“Virtual Enterprises International (VEI) is an in-school entrepreneurship program modeled on the European tradition of apprenticeships. The program targets high school and college students. With an emphasis on college and career readiness, VEI offers students a competitive edge through project-based collaborative learning, and the development of 21st-century skills in entrepreneurship, global business, economics, problem solving, communication, personal finance, and technology. Each year, VEI works with schools to transform 500 classrooms into offices and 12,000 students into business executives.” Source quote from their Farmingdale Trade Show website. (See their website link at the bottom of the page.)