Thousands headed to Bakersfield for State Virtual Business competition

About 2,000 high school students from throughout California and New York are expected to attend the 13th annual California State Virtual Enterprise Trade Show and Business Plan Competition to be held in Bakersfield on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 30 - Dec. 1.

Students representing about 100 schools will compete for a variety of honors during competitions to be held at the Rabobank Convention Center and Marriott Hotel from 8 am to 6 pm on Wednesday and 8 am to 1 pm on Thursday. The public is invited. Admission is free.

“Virtual Enterprise programs have grown in popularity worldwide and we're excited about welcoming a significant number of programs to Bakersfield for a competition that will highlight their products and business skills,” said Nancy Phillips, International Program Coordinator for the state of California.

Virtual Enterprise programs provide ‘real world' experience not previously available in traditional business classrooms, Phillips said. A Virtual Enterprise program requires students to develop a business plan, to market a product or service and then manage company operations to profitability.

Awards in 16 different Trade Show categories will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday. Also to be announced: The five companies that will represent California in the National Business Plan Competition to be held in New York City in March of 2012.

Wednesday activities will include a variety of oral competitions, such as Marketing and Human Resources, and the State Business Plan competitions. Also on Wednesday, an Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour will be featured at Rabobank starting at 3:30 pm. Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour presenters include young entrepreneurs who share lessons learned starting up a business. The tour is meant to expose students to the opportunities of entrepreneurship and to help them explore ways they can help change the economy, create jobs for themselves and pursue their passions. Virtual Enterprise students' will be inspired to take next steps and think entrepreneurially as they transition from the virtual enterprise world into real-world business concepts, planning and actions.

Thursday activities will be highlighted by the Public Trade Show in which more than 100 Virtual Enterprise programs will compete. During the Trade Show, students test their salesmanship and marketing skills against those of other companies. To facilitate the competition, visitors to the Trade Show will be given $10,000 in “virtual dollars” to spend on products and services as they tour the more than 100 booths. Some of the “Virtual” products to be featured include hats, pastries, organic fruits and vegetables, pets, CDs, DVDs, beauty products, clothing, fitness products, travel destinations, and “green” products.

Competitions are judged by local and out-of-town business leaders and industry experts.

The Fair is sponsored by Kern High School District's Regional Occupational Center in conjunction with the Kern Community College District Business and Entrepreneurship Center. For more information, contact Phillips at the California Virtual Enterprise Office, (661) 396-4430.

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