George Washington’s Virtual Enterprise students have seen the future. Products of the future that is, as the group traveled to the Annual Virtual Trade Show in New York City on April 17 to compete against students from all over the world by pitching their company EyeTech, Inc.
“EyeTech is a technologically enhanced glasses company. These glasses allow you to do everything you would do on your phone, but on your glasses,” Course Instructor Gwyndolyn Stone said. “The phone allows for more hand usage with built-in sensors that project what you think into your lenses.”
Stone said students brainstormed at the beginning of the school year, eliminating many creative and innovative ideas but narrowed their project down to EyeTech, Inc. utilizing the democratic process.
GW has been participating in the trade show for 15 years with the event becoming more competitive in recent years, requiring students to audition to attend.
“The judges were highly impressed and we were invited to showcase the first firm from Danville in 2016, Cloud IX,” Stone, who taught the course for 9 years, said of the group’s history. “We have competed every year since 2016 successfully receiving numerous accolades and awards.”
The Eagles added to those accolades in April, earning second place for elevator pitch and honorable mention in the branding competition.
“I am elated each year of the process of watching firms as team members and individuals grow through ownership of their creation,” Stone said. “Students surpass my expectations on the ingenious things they create and how they execute each task and plan. To compete on a worldwide platform makes me very proud and excited about the promising futures of our students.”
The virtual enterprise class is a year-long career and technical education course that teaches students how to own their own business using collaborative learning techniques. Students become the CEO, COO, and CFO of a firm developed in the class.
“Students work in departments in their created firm; marketing and sales, human resources, and accounting; developing business plans, newsletters, processing payroll, creating websites, brochures, catalogs, elevator pitch for investors, and commercials, along with other functions of running a business,” Stone said. “While managing the day-to-day operations of a company, students not only develop business skills and an entrepreneurial mindset, they also identify career pathways that align with their interests, talents and aspirations.”
Stone said the program’s hands-on experience and task-based curricula allows students to test drive potential careers and develop in-demand skills and competencies that post-secondary institutions and employers are seeking.
“The Virtual Enterprise class has taught me how to build a team,” Senior Marcus DeShazor said. “Our company’s success was a result of the family we built. We did have some conflict internally, as with any company; however, we were able to get past that. I made sure that all of my employees felt welcome to present their ideas and be a factor in our success. It was this that allowed us to build our company from the ground up.”
DeShazor said the idea came about as a solution to the distraction that is hand-held devices.
“I think our trade show was very successful, although we experienced several setbacks regarding our booth design,” DeShazor said. “We persevered and were able to make many sales. The trade show itself was a very interesting experience because of the many types of people from all over the world that attended. Beside our booth, we had students from Germany from whom we bought and they bought from us. My company employees were very diligent in helping set up, begin selling, and representing our company.”