Annals in Entrepreneurship Education series
Edited by Michael H. Morris
Chapter 26: Virtual Enterprise
Virtual Enterprise (VE) has its foundations in Germany where students in trade schools create ‘practice firms’ to put into practice what they learn in the classroom. The practice firm method was eventually adopted by trade schools in Austria. In 1998, a group of educators from the United States visited Austria and witnessed the use of these practice firms. With a few revisions to the curricula, Virtual Enterprise was created and implemented at the college level, at Kingsborough Community College (KCC), a division of the City University of New York. The reasons why Virtual Enterprise was implemented at the college level were varied. First and foremost was the ability to teach entrepreneurial skill sets in a way that mirrors how real-world entrepreneurs would learn by doing. In its early years, VE was a work in progress from a pedagogical standpoint, and with some flexibility it has grown to become one of the most distinctive entrepreneurship teaching models in the United States. Virtual Enterprise was originally introduced as an entrepreneurship course within the Tourism and Hospitality Department at KCC. The concept quickly caught on, and other departments began implementing a VE course within their own disciplines. VE, as a methodology for teaching entrepreneurship, underwent an independent study (Schroeder, 2001) and in 2002 VE was made a City University of New York (CUNY) Special Initiative. It was this event that allowed VE to grow throughout CUNY and various colleges in the United States and beyond.
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