MATCH students, the next generation of entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurial spirit ran high on June 8th as Global Safety and Security Academy (GSS) and MATCH Academy seniors at Banning High School presented their virtual businesses to ITEP Board and staff members and were recognized as “Employee of the Month” and “Employee of the Year.”

During the past year, GSS students launched two virtual businesses, High Tech, a electronics sales company that sells everything from Mac computers to video games, and G-SSurance, an insurance company. MATCH students, in keeping with the culinary focus of their academy, ran a virtual restaurant called World On a Plate. Students were organized into groups that mirror real businesses departments: Human Resources, Finance, Marketing, and Purchasing.

Virtual Enterprise Teacher and “CEO” Patrick Mariano noted, “Students usually enter the Virtual Business class with apprehension and uncertainty. However, as they learn the process of opening and running a business, they soon become engaged and begin to experience ownership and pride. They realize that their work directly impacts the success of the business and begin to feel responsibility to themselves and their “co-workers.”

Students conducted business domestically with other high schools in the Midwest and East coast, while learning about the importance of global business. Next year they plan to interact with virtual entrepreneurs in Japan and China.

Susie Emami, ITEP Program Manager, commented, “This program provides students with a a taste of how exciting and challenging it is to be an entrepreneur. It’s also a great first step in teaching them about international trade.”

For the past four years, these amazing opportunities for virtual enterprise classes, known as International Business Practice Firms (IBPFs) have been made available to the ITEP academies at Banning, Barstow and Gardena High Schools through grant funding secured by ITEP board member, Maurice Kogon, Director of the Center for International Trade Development at El Camino College.  However, this grant will end after the 2012 school year. Single IBPF program licenses cost $1,500 and support two virtual enterprise classes for a full year.  If you are interested in sponsoring a student virtual enterprise, please contact Amy Grat at

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Filed under Banning High School, MATCH

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