Virtual Entrepreneurship Classes Compete in First-Ever FBLA Competition


SJ Janolkar

Junior SJ Janolkar won two first place awards for hospitality and tourism. Students from Virtual Enterprise and Empower Entrepreneurship classes participated in the 2023 southern section leadership conference in Valencia.

Fourty-four students from Virtual Enterprise and Empower Entrepreneurship classes participated in their first-ever Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competition on Feb. 11 at Valencia High.

Junior SJ Janolkar won first place in hospitality and tourism, and freshman Claire Liu won second place in introduction to public speaking for freshmen and sophomores. 

There are 40 different business-related subjects, as well as multiple-choice knowledge tests, according to Virtual Enterprise and Empower Entrepreneurship teacher Katherine Dillon. In addition, competitions involve a roleplay scenario in which contestants are given a business problem and  must present a solution. 

In the final event, competitors prepared business-related projects ahead of time, which was determined by a panel of judges. 

Virtual Enterprise and Empower Entrepreneurship students prepared for the competition by studying various business concepts, such as economics, marketing, insurance and risks, accounting and finance. 

“Since it is their first year competing in the competition, their mindset this year is to just go and figure out what it looks like, and figure out how the competition is done,” Dillon said. “The kids are just so excited to learn how we can prepare for next year.”

FBLA is more distinctive than other business competitions. For example there are categories unique to FBLA such as finance, website development, app development, spreadsheet applications and word applications, according to Janolkar. 

“Seeing all our members be able to do this competition is the thing I’m most excited about,” Janolkar said. ¨Last year, we had an incredibly small chapter. Only 10-15 members went to DECA, and now we have 40 people going, which is a huge difference,” Janolkar said. “It’s just showing that our small Portola chapter has grown so much, and I’m very, very proud of it.” 

Future competitions Virtual Enterprise and Empower Entrepreneurship will participate in include a trade show on March 10 and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) on March 3. 

“This time, the speaking was a lot more personal,” Liu said. “Instead of talking in front of a huge audience, I got to talk in front of a panel of judges. Usually, whenever I talk, it’s to an audience, but this one was more connected. I’d say I was talking directly to people that were listening to me, so I really got to explore my own topic more in depth.”