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What differentiates VE from other programs?
VE is a real-life simulation of a business world environment. The program empowers students to perform the activities and handle the responsibilities involved in starting and operating a business. VE simulates a business world environment. In other words, students become business executives and classrooms become the offices they work in. It’s called a simulation because no real currency is exchanged and the business transactions are technically fictitious, but students perform real work and participate in real activities that provide the kind of valuable experiential learning that most people don’t get until they enter the workforce.

Is VE a computer simulation?
No. However, there are numerous online components that support the business operation just as in the real world (e.g., online banking, national and international directory of companies).

Can I implement a VE program without a specialized lab?
No. However, a regular computer lab can be reconfigured into workgroup teams. It is important for students to experience a business environment. A specialized lab creates the simulation, helps to transition students to the workplace, and separates them from the high school world.

Can I implement a VE program without prerequisites?
Unless students come into VE with an understanding of basic business concepts, it will be difficult for the instructor to play the role of “guide on the side” rather than “sage on the stage.” The role of teacher as a disseminator of information is contrary to the student-directed learning model.

What are examples of VE industries?
Students start businesses across many different industries and product/service categories. In the 2015-16 school year, the following top 10 VE industries were:

  1. Clothing & Accessories
  2. Entertainment
  3. Electronics & Computers
  4. Food & Beverage
  5. Business Services
  6. Advertising & Marketing
  7. Furniture
  8. Finance & Insurance
  9. Animals & Pet Supplies
  10. Office Equipment & Supplies

What are examples of some practice businesses VE students start?
Because there are 500 active practice businesses as of the 2015-16 school year, there are many examples of practice businesses VE students start. A good starting point for finding specific examples of businesses is to watch the presentations of the top 6 teams from the past year’s National Business Plan Competition.

Another place to find examples of VE businesses are with our Certified Vendors. These are businesses serving the VE marketplace in key areas such as Advertising, Insurance, and Real Estate.

You can find all of our business and their websites, visit the U.S. Firm Directory.

Are there certain types of businesses that don’t work well for a VE?
In general, service businesses are more difficult to implement than merchandising businesses. Service firms’ customers sometimes resist paying for services that are not rendered and have difficulty conceptualizing the nature of the service being offered. Service business should be able to truly perform the service.

Can I establish a real business as part of the VE network?
Yes. The National Office staff will provide guidance in this effort.

What kind of expenses do VE firms incur in the virtual world?
VE firms are required to pay rent, utilities, payroll and taxes and are expected to purchase from any virtual firm in the network anything that the firm needs to be in business.