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Mattituck students compete in Virtual Enterprise business plan contest

Students in Mattituck High School’s Virtual Enterprise class will attend an International Virtual Enterprise trade show in Brooklyn this April to help fund their simulated company.

This year, the class invented “Glow Games,” a company that manufactures illuminated recreational products including pool tables, darts, mini-golf sets, basketballs and more. 

Led by teacher LuAnne Nappe, 12 class members pitched the business Jan. 9 to judges at the annual Virtual Enterprise business plan competition and trade show at Long Island University in Brookville. The group competed against other school districts from across Suffolk and Nassau counties.

The class netted three awards: a silver for a 45-second video commercial written, filmed and edited by seniors Greg Hauser and James Jacobs; a gold for the company newsletter, designed by senior Sierra McShane; and a silver in the branding competition, in which judges critiqued company slogans, logos, fonts and colors. That part of the project was designed by senior Riley Hoeg. All projects were submitted in advance electronically. 

The 25 students in the class sell and trade simulated products with a network of other VE businesses across 42 countries using an online banking system set up with Virtual Enterprise International. These products are “sold” at trade shows and on their website, glowgamesny.com. Products are also available by phone from the Glow Games corporate office — located in Ms. Nappe’s classroom during the class period.

To prepare for the competition, students completed a six-page catalog order form and a 26-page business plan in addition to the other documents that received awards.

Glow Games is divided into various departments, including technology, human resources, and sales and marketing. Each student has their own role and way of contributing to the company. Some keep track of finances, while others sell and buy products, Ms. Nappe said. Every sale needs to be documented online.

The Virtual Enterprise class is open only to juniors and seniors, Ms. Nappe said, and can be taken for two years. A senior student taking the course for a second time needs to apply to be an officer, or class leader, who can “bring their knowledge to the role,” she said. 

This year, the five senior officers prepared and presented the Glow Games business plan to judges at the trade show. Ms. Nappe said those results haven’t been announced, but the students will attend the April trade show regardless of the outcome. 

“It’s like a two-part thing,” she explained. “While I took some kids to the competition, others were working at the trade show.” 

Ms. Nappe said this is the fifth year students have participated in the annual competition and trade show. In years past, students recycled the same company used in previous classes, Body Kinetics, which sold computerized sports equipment — but this year was different.

“I felt like kids weren’t taking ownership of that company,” she said. “This year, I decided to completely start from scratch, and I found that now they’re taking on this ownership and they really believe in the company. They want to have it make money.”

While it’s more work for her and the students, Ms. Nappe said, the result of the company is stronger if they start fresh each year.

Students are excited about the upcoming trade show, she said, and that’s where the virtual companies make most of their money. 

“That’s why we attend them, so they sell the products and keep the business flowing that way,” she said. “If they didn’t attend the trade show, they wouldn’t have money coming in. It’s just not enough sales on the internet for them.” 

Riley said she can use what she learned from the course in the future. 

“It really gives you a background on what you can expect in real life,” she said, “and what you can get from working within a business.”

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Photo caption: Mattituck-Cutchogue Glow Games officers Sierra Mitchell, Meghan Riley, Tyler F. Olsen, James Jacobs and Brian Nicholson presented their company’s business plan at the Virtual Enterprise competition Jan. 9. (Courtesy photo)