Virtual Enterprise Is Good for the Sole


Photo courtesy of Benedict Tieniber

Virtual Enterprise students, the creators of SmartSoles, pose for a photo

With the beginning of the new school year comes a new round of the mock-business elective Virtual Enterprise (VE). According to the VE teacher, Dr. Benedict Tieniber, the class, “… is an international program that enables students to experience a simulated business environment.” Once admitted into the program, students apply to work in different areas of the company, all of which are overseen by department managers and a chief executive officer (CEO). Like businesses in the real world, typical jobs within the firm fall into departments, such as operations, management, accounting, finance, marketing, legal, human resources, and information technology (IT).

Students run for their positions through an interview process run by Tieniber that resembles that of the corporate world. Once given their positions, they work together to come up with a product idea that will allow their business to thrive. This year, the students of VE came up with SmartSoles. As explained by Co-chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Dea Pulatani, the product is “a chip that goes inside the sole of your shoe and has the ability to track your steps, your location, distance traveled, and more.” As the year goes on, students in the class, led by CEO Alexandra Ioannou, will navigate business meetings with potential investors to keep their mock-business running successfully. 

The mock-business requires a large team to run successfully. The positions of this year’s VE staff are as follows: Alexandra Ioannou, CEO; Lucas Colonna and Giulia Lubrano, co-chief financial officers (CFOs); Hailey Samelson and Tyla Vuotto, co-chief operating officers (COOs);  Dea Pulatani and Sophia Rosenbaum, CMOs; Mia Ciociano and Maria Hristodoulou, co-chief customer officers (CCOs);  Max Cordes, chief technology officer (CTO); Nathan Santoli, chief sales officer (CSO); Charles Reis, VP of marketing; Jake Festa, administrative VP; Marino Grillo, VP of sales; Marcello Lombardo, Jr., VP of communication; Christopher Lucchese, VP of human resources; Chelsea Chico and Katherine Ferng, VPs of social media; Michael Fagen, sales manager; Connor Ambrosio, office manager; Tucker Pronko, bank manager; Amanda McDonald, accounts manager; Max Dantona, Elias Sherman-Murphy, Ryan Kehoe, and Patrick O’Doherty, sales associates; and Samantha Mattia, Branden Blitz, Ryan Bergrin, and Gerald Ortiz, marketing associates. 

Tieniber feels that, “This course offers a unique opportunity, allowing students to understand and implement all aspects of a successful business.” Many students who are currently or were previously enrolled in the program agree. The class is designed to not only allow for students to learn about the inner workings of the business world but also sets them up for success in many other fields. It intends to lay the groundwork for financial dealings in any aspect of life, both business and personal, while also teaching students how to professionally interact with those around them.

VE is an international, non-profit program that also takes students to events to allow them to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. Ioannou noted, “I am excited to attend trade shows and competitions with our product because I feel they will be great experiences, helping to get [me and my team] more familiar with the business world.” These trade shows help students learn about marketing and investments from external sources, and allow them to interact with other mock-companies from across the state.

Under the supervision of Tieniber and the leadership of Ioannou, VE students hope for a year of productivity, learning, and above all, success for their SmartSoles.