Budding entrepreneurs abound at Murrieta Valley High School. Under a national program called Virtual Enterprise, instructor Joel Levin teaches juniors and seniors how to create a company that is “real”, although no goods or services are produced and no money changes hands. He starts by interviewing and “hiring” a student CEO who then interviews and hires other students for executive positions. The officers then create a business plan and present it at a state competition. The teams are judged on their marketing plans, human resources, sales presentations, elevator pitches and interview presentations. This January MVHS’s two teams, Trifecta and NoCoGo placed 1st and 2nd, respectively, out of 42 competing at Bakersfield. They and 4 other teams won the right to represent California at nationals held in Manhattan, NY on Sunday, April 17.
Mr. Levin’s students have been competing for the past 8 years, and have been finalists in the nationals the past four years. As with this year, two of the five California finalists in the 2015 national competition, Aquafinity and Xeriscapes, were from Murrieta Valley High School. In 2014 MVHS’s West Coast Races team finished 4th.
From the sponsor website: “The National Business Plan Competition is the most prestigious and rigorous annual business plan competition for public high school students. It challenges Virtual Enterprise students from across the country to demonstrate their global business expertise through written business plans and oral presentations. The competition showcases best practices, rewards excellence, and trains high school students to apply sophisticated knowledge and skills attributed to business professionals and college students. The winning team will be announced at the New York City International Trade Show, which is the culminating event of the Youth Business Summit… Thanks to our growing community of students, teachers, partners, and supporters, we invested $1.6 million in transforming students into business professionals and entrepreneurs, unleashing talent and innovation among 11,000 students across 360 schools and 18 states.
“With an emphasis on college and career readiness, Virtual Enterprise 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.”
Last December I sat in on a practice session at MVHS, and in early January I had the privilege of representing SCORE as a “judge” at a dress rehearsal at City Hall, hosted by Kim Davidson, Murrieta’s Business Development Manager. The students showed poise and professionalism in their presentations. Apparently the state judges in Bakersfield noticed that too.
Other notable entrepreneurial activities in the area include the recent openings of the Temecula Valley Entrepreneur’s Exchange and the Murrieta Innovation Center, both to promote the development of local high tech companies and draw from the large pool of local talent that now expends their energies driving 40 miles or more each day to high tech jobs in other cities.