Murrieta Valley Virtual Enterprise teams come up short at national championships

Murrieta Valley High School Virtual Enterprise program sends two teams to compete recently at the National Business Plan Championships in New York City. Murrieta Valley High School Virtual Enterprise photo

Murrieta Valley High School Virtual Enterprise teams – Nurture and Safe N’ Sound – performed “extremely well” recently at the National Business Plan Championships in New York City, but neither team made it to the final round of competition, according to Joel Levin, coordinator of the school’s Virtual Enterprise program.

According to Levin, though the business plan competition is the biggest event during the trip, the teams did compete in several other competitions and did well.

The human resources team from the Safe N’ Sound team came in second place in that competition, and the team’s marketing plan group finished in the Top 10. Edwin Kuang participated in the Global Business Challenge, and his team came in first place.

Murrieta Valley High School’s Nurture team poses for a photo during competition at the Virtual Enterprise National Business Plan Championships. Murrieta Valley High School Virtual Enterprise photo

“It is definitely gratifying to see our teams consistently qualify for the National Championships and although our business plan teams did not place this year, they worked just as hard as successful teams from our past and were just as deserving of recognition,” Levin said. “It’s apparent that at this level, all of the teams competing are the best of the best, and sometimes it just doesn’t turn out the way would like in terms of awards because of the intense competition.

“I know it’s a bit cliche, but it really is the yearlong journey in getting there, and both of our teams performed at the same excellent high level that we have come to expect. I am extremely proud of both teams for not only their performance in the competition, but how well they represented our program, our school, our district and themselves,” Levin said.

Murrieta Valley High School Virtual Enterprise teams have qualified for the national competition for the eighth consecutive year, and it was the fifth year in a row that both teams have qualified.

Every school year, students accepted into the Virtual Enterprise program apply for positions on the teams that will create a simulated business that operates in a competitive environment with the goals of educating students with key knowledge needed with developing a business.

Each department of both businesses is charged with creating a marketing plan, an employee handbook, developing radio and video commercials, designing and building a trade show booth and more.

This year, Safe N’ Sound, a company that produces fashionable jewelry that also serves as a safety mechanism, and Nurture, a healthy fruit bowl food truck company, were chosen.

Seleen Saiid is the CEO of Safe N’ Sound.

Safe N’ Sound’s Natalie Scudder and Sofia Uribe of Murrieta Valley High School pose for a photo with their second place trophy in the human resources competition. Murrieta Valley High School Virtual Enterprise photo

“Virtual Enterprise prepares you for the real world like no other class,” she said. “The experience you gain is invaluable. I learned interview skills, how to network, how to create a perfect sales pitch and most importantly, how to be a leader. I was exposed to many opportunities and develop skills that I will use through college and beyond.

“I am extremely proud of my team for working diligently and efficiently to achieve this mission. Without the combined efforts of each unique member, none of our success would have been possible,” Saiid said.

Grant Castaneda is the CEO of Nurture and traveled to New York to compete for a second time.

“Let me tell you it has been amazing going back to back years,” he said. “During competition and performing it is thrilling and the nerves are definitely there, however, once I and my team get into the rooms we present in everything seems to wash away and all of our game faces are on. The experience is just like all the sports I used to play in high school.”

Casteneda said he is proud of his team and how they performed in the Big Apple.

“Personally, I am proud of all of us,” he said. “As CEO of Nurture, my business plan teammates Paris, Sam, Josh, Desirae, Kat and I battled throughout the year. To put it simply I am proud of their dedication and perseverance. It is not easy for 17- and 18-year-olds to commit to three meetings a week for eight months, and I am blessed to have them around me.”

Levin said the teams take on a personality of their own and he is hopeful that the program will continue to grow.

“This year’s teams have had a profound impact on me,” he said. “We had two tremendous CEOs, Grant Castaneda and Seleen Saiid, who both set a tone from the beginning of the journey that inspired everyone to work hard, be team players and to commit themselves to the VE program.

“As I reflect back on this past year, I know that this group has had a major impact on our VE program, and will now hand the torch over to the next group that will continue to build on the efforts of those who have come before them. This impact is supported by the increasing number of students who want to be a part of this program,” Levin said.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at