Students in Laurie Acosta’s class at J.P. Taravella High School are learning how to build a business.
Virtual Enterprises International teaches students entrepreneurship. As a class, they come up with an idea then operate their start-up by conducting business with hundreds of virtual companies formed in schools across the country.
"They went through a process from the beginning to figure out what kind of business they wanted to run, what do they care about in the world. From that process called design thinking, they developed a business. So they just got it registered this week," said Acosta.
These students came up with “AccessorEyes”, a virtual business with a line of eyeglass frames that have interchangeable temples.
"What 17 year old do you know that’s been a chief executive officer for a start up company with 30 employees. That’s what this gives them," said Acosta.
The students are put into groups to manage different departments in a business like marketing, human resources, product development and finance.
Senior Cinthiea Moreau is on the graphics design team.
"With the logo I wanted to look at other optical places first to get a feel on how they did their logo and how it correlates with their business. The C’s were hard to do with the font I had so I went to the O and I was like I could make the glasses out of the O. And then we asked a couple of people who wear glasses, when they think about the eye doctor, what color do they think of and we got a lot of responses for blue," said Moreau.
Acosta brought the VEI program to Broward County eight years ago. Now, thousands of students in grades sixth through 12th in 25 Broward County Schools have learned how to create a virtual business.
"This is going to give them an opportunity in the real world. They’re going to take everything that they learned here and channel it into anything they go into," said principal Mary DeArmas.
Acosta hopes the program inspires students to follow their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.
"In 10 years, my parents have a restaurant, so i see myself franchising a restaurant," said junior Nikhil Singh.
"I want to be an entrepreneur and run my own business and own many more," said senior Aya Alam.