In May, New York Life Ventures was very excited to volunteer for the Virtual Enterprises1 -Junior Ventures (VE-JV) National Business Pitch Competition.

The overall goal of VE International, a New York Life Foundation grantee, is to equip students with practical business skills where they turn their class into a company with different business departments and create a product that they ‘sell’ virtually through an international network of schools.

“The VE-JV program helps students build problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and effective communication skills – these are important skills they will need in the workplace and in life.  Fostering these skills in middle school prepares students for high school, college and a successful future!”

Members from New York Life Ventures’ leadership team, including Elizabeth Yenko, Joel Albarella and Tim Del Bello volunteered as judges for divisions 1 and 2, representing 7th and 8th grade middle school students.

This year, NYC came out strong as winners of the 1st prize in both divisions: Hair Glamour (New World Prep Charter in Stated Island) successfully pitched organic based hair products while Asclepius Medical (JHS 259 William McKinley in Brooklyn) presented with confidence, a hand sanitizer paired with an innovative mask designed with adjustable and comfortable features.

“With all of the challenges that the 2020-21 school year brought, finding expert volunteers to guide our VE-JV students was simplified by New York Life's steady supply of high-quality volunteers. Because of the volunteers from New York Life, the VE-JV program was able to conduct virtual competitions, panel discussions, and mock interviews during the 2020-21 school year. We look forward to continuing this great partnership in the 21-22 school year,” said, Will Wilson, National Middle School Program Director, VE International.

Here is what our Ventures judges had to say:

Elizabeth: “I was very impressed to see the level of thought these 11-year old kids put into their pitches, and the advanced concepts they addressed around the market, competition and services of their product”.

Joel: “Every pitch solved a very different customer problem and it was great to see how this program brings kids to learn collaboratively and develop a growth mindset by thinking very creatively. These are undoubtedly essential ingredients for tomorrow’s generation of successful leaders”.

Tim: “What an exceptional opportunity to expose students to the concepts of entrepreneurship so early in their development. The teams were deeply engaged and beaming with pride throughout the entire competition – it was a highly impactful and rewarding experience!

Congrats to the all teachers, Will Wilson and his team from VE International, and to the students for making this such a great event! 

We are grateful to New York Life for their long-time commitment to VE (Virtual Enterprises) since our inception as a non-profit organization in 2011.  Beyond their investment, New York Life has been an exemplary partner on so many levels,” said VE International Founder Iris Blanc. Not only do they provide financial support, they provide their time, resources, and talent to support our students and the VEI organization, serving as judges and role models for student events as well as serving on the VEI Board of Directors.”


1 VE International is a non-profit organization dedicated to career exploration and career development for middle and high school students (representing over 430 schools across the country), and NYL has been an active partner for almost 10 years. Since 2011 the Foundation has supported VEI awarding $3 million in corporate, Foundation and volunteer grants.  Our funding helped VEI launch Junior Ventures, its middle school program and business competition.  

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Media contact
Lacey Siegel
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937

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