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Hart Students Starting Their Own Businesses

Virtual Enterprise ROP class allows students to delve into a business idea.  Students looking for hands-on experience in the business world need look no further than ROP Virtual Enterprise, a new class introduced this year through the Wm. S. Hart Union High School District’s Regional Occupational Program (ROP).


The district’s Academy of the Canyons has offered an award-winning Virtual Enterprise for several years, and the ROP class will make the program available to even more local students.


Virtual Enterprise is a simulated business that is set up and run by students to prepare them for working in a real business environment. With the guidance of a teacher ("consultant") and real-world business partners, the students determine the nature of their business, its products and services, its management and structure, and engage in the daily operations of running a business. Emphasis is placed on using current business software, communications, and the Internet for business transactions.


Students name their own executives, develop a business plan and product, “sell” their product to other Virtual Enterprise companies across the globe, participate in trade shows and determine a profit or loss at the end of the year. Although the ROP offering is a one-semester program, students who decide to stay on for the full year will advance to “management” status in the second semester as new entry-level students enter the “company.”


The ROP Virtual Enterprise class will begin Tuesday, Aug. 19, and will meet from 3:15 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at Golden Valley High School. There  will also be training days in Kern County, presentations to industry leaders and fundraising as well as trade shows and exhibitions.


The class will launch its new business with a Grand Opening in late October, inviting parents, students, administrators, industry and community leaders and business partners to help kick off the new enterprise. The first trade show is scheduled Dec. 4 and 5 in Bakersfield, where the new company will compete in the Booth Design category.


The new Virtual Enterprise company is expected to focus on fashion design, a field in which teacher Summer O’Brien excels. A former executive director for the Miss Los Angeles County USA Pageant, O’Brien has taught Fashion Merchandising and Retail Sales in the Hart District for over 13 years. She also taught in the Las Virgenes School District and teaches a personal development program she developed for the City of Santa Clarita.


“The Virtual Enterprise program teaches entrepreneurship and practical skills that are essential to career readiness while promoting healthy competition to motivate students,” O’Brien explained. “Virtual Enterprise has the added advantage of linking students in a global business network.”

There are currently more than 400 Virtual Enterprise firms operating in the United States at secondary and post-secondary levels, and more than 3,000 in Europe, Canada, Australia, Asia and Latin America.


The ROP Virtual Enterprise program at Golden Valley will take advantage of a state-of-the-art Mac computer lab and software provided for ROP through career technical education funds. The class is offered to all high school students 16 years and older at no charge and to adults on a space-available basis at a nominal fee.


Further information or registration is available through ROP advisors at all Hart District high school, online at, or by calling 259-0033, extension 234.


Hart Students Starting Their Own Businesses

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