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Students showcase their virtual businesses

Creative acumen displayed at trade show

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OXFORD Students from Granville and surrounding counties showcased their business ideas at the annual Virtual Enterprise Trade Show on March 29 at Webb High in Oxford.

The Virtual Enterprise program offers students the opportunity build a virtual business from the ground up.

“It is a student-run class where they create their businesses,” said South Granville Virtual Enterprise coordinator Mark Jones. “They run the numbers to determine what businesses are viable and they start building their business. They run their business out of the classroom and they are responsible for the marketing, to the sales, to the accounting. These kids do everything a real business would do in Virtual Enterprises.”

This year the businesses on display included several bakeries, travel agencies, customized snow and surf boards, lights, apparel, workout equipment and a magazine.

Each team prepared a presentation for their product. The salesperson and marketing department walked through the different options that could be purchased with a virtual credit card. If a sale was made, the business team was responsible for taking the orders and providing the customer with a receipt for their purchase.

Some of the more successful businesses in recent years, according to Jones, have been a camping business and the revitalization of the vinyl record.

“All we did was sell the vinyl record. It was great to see the youth take such an interest in the vinyl record business,” Jones said.

Jones also pointed to the magazine industry as one of the leaders in the VE program.

“This year we are producing magazines and are selling advertising and subscriptions,” he said. “Right now that has an edge in total sales, but the natural beauty products are hopefully catching up.”

South Granville and Webb were the first two Virtual Enterprise classes in the state. Jones said that the program has been running for nine years. Granville Central and the Franklin County schools added the Virtual Enterprise programs a year later.

“It has been a great experience working on the magazine and selling the advertising for our business,” said Salina Banks, a VE student from South Granville said.

Jones said the VE students tend to be self-motivated and strive hard to make their businesses work.

As the trade show started to wind down and the students began tallying receipts, many teams celebrated their success, while others talked about what they could have done differently to be more successful.

“Today was about building, growing and presenting their businesses,” Jones said. “It was a success.”