These teenagers are really sharp. Huntington High School’s new Virtual Enterprise course has two classes filled with high-powered students. The two teams of exceptional young people vied in LIU Post’s Elevator Pitch late last week with one of the groups reaching the final round.
Huntington teachers Paige Tyree Furman and Suzie Biagi lead the course. The full-year, one credit business class is available to juniors and seniors. “Virtual Enterprise is a simulated business that is set-up and run by students to prepare them for working in a real business environment,” according to the high school’s course bulletin.
Participants learn about all the factors that impact business operations in a free enterprise system. “Students study supply and demand, the Federal Reserve System, taxation by local, state and federal governments, business organizations, the stock market and international transactions,” states the course bulletin. “The students determine the nature of their business, its products and services, its management and structure and learn the daily operations of a business under the guidance of a consultant with the support of a real business partner. They use current business software packages and the internet for business transactions using economics as a factor.”
LIU Post’s Elevator Pitch competition required one student from each of the nearly 100 Virtual Enterprise firms to give a 30-60 second “elevator” pitch to a panel of judges. Mrs. Furman’s class’ firm called Poppy reached the final round of 12 competing teams, a spectacular accomplishment for a first year program.
The pitches were evaluated based upon the following criteria:
- Compelling: How well does the pitch entice you or draw you in?
- Informative: How well does the pitch deliver all of the details about the business? (Details include the type of business, the products/service, the problem that the business solves, the uniqueness of the product/service, target market and current needs.)
- Next Steps: Why should an investor fund it?
- Delivery: How well was the pitch delivered? Did the presenter demonstrate eye contact, poise, professionalism and clarity?
The executives for Mrs. Furman’s class include John Panos (chief executive officer), Yady Acevedo (chief operating officer), Emerson Forbes (vice president-administration), Graham Young (chief financial officer), Riva Bergman (vice president-design/IT), Natalie Gonzalez (vice president-marketing) and Madelyn Reed (vice president-human resources).
The executives for Mrs. Biagi’s class include Ethan Mulroy (chief executive officer), Lena Annunziata (chief operating officer), Chas Forte (vice president-administration), Cameron Mills (chief financial officer), Jonathan Munoz (vice-president-design/IT), Lia Shechter (vice president-marketing) and Luke Farrell (vice-president-human resources).
Everyone associated with the Poppy firm was elated to have reached the final round. “It was a great experience getting to finally see what others were doing, but actually making it into the top 12 really put us on the map,” Mr. Panos said. “I can’t wait for the next few months to come. I know everyone’s going to be amazing.”
While Mrs. Biagi’s class didn’t advance to the championship round, he did make a very favorable impression on everyone associated with the competition. As CEO of the ABODE firm, Mr. Mulroy made a powerful pitch on behalf of his team.
Each of the Huntington teachers was more than satisfied with how the event played out and the student executives and entrepreneurs were, too. Messrs. Panos and Mulroy were both remarkably well prepared and articulate. “We are so proud of them,” Mrs. Furman said. “Their maturity and professionalism while presenting to over 1,900 students, teachers and judges was outstanding. They are both incredibly gifted public speakers.”