HOLBROOK, N.Y. (March 17, 2021) — American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (AP)—a privately-held, independent broker/dealer that services financial advisors across the country—sponsored the finals for the 10th annual Virtual Enterprises International (VEI) Long Island Regional Business Plan Competition. VEI is a non-profit organization that offers in-school experiential learning programs for high school students to form entrepreneurial, start-up businesses within a live global simulated setting.
Instilled within AP’s corporate ethos is the belief that a company has an obligation to conduct good corporate citizenry. “My motivation for going into business was to form a company built to last that would bring value not just to its shareholders, but to its employees, financial professionals, investing clients and the community,” AP CEO Lon T. Dolber states. “AP’s long-standing relationship with VEI is in keeping with this vision. These students truly represent the promise of the future and have gained valuable insight and experience from their participation in VEI’s unique learning program.”
Each year, AP looks forward to ushering in a new wave of promising, young entrepreneurs as it continues its support of educational organizations that promote business leadership. The firm has worked closely with VEI since 2014 and has nurtured a relationship that has proven to be mutually beneficial on many levels. Holding this competition at AP’s headquarters provides students with the backdrop of a true corporate experience. At the same time, the firm’s employees and investment professionals find the judging experience to be extremely rewarding. “AP is one of those companies that is driven by its mission and lives by its values,” states VEI Founder Iris Blanc. “We are very grateful to Lon and his amazing staff for our eight-year partnership aimed at helping VEI students begin their professional journeys.”
The events leading up to and including this year’s competition were held virtually due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Preceding the Long Island Regional Business Plan Competition, volunteer judges from AP took part in the National E-Commerce Website Competition, during which they were asked to review and rate virtual websites built out by student teams to showcase their virtual businesses. From there, student teams moved on to the Business Plan Competition.
Given the online format, VEI was able to increase the number of competing student teams from high schools across Long Island, N.Y., to 40, as opposed to last year’s 10. The event was held over the course of two days from February 23 – 24, during which AP hosted the second round of the competition. Volunteer judges were asked to read the students’ business plan summaries, listen to their presentations and provide feedback. Of the aforementioned teams, 20 will progress to the Youth Business Summit, to be held April 20 – 22 online.
Darius Williams, former educator and current executive director for Life Arts, Inc. (a non-profit organization sponsored by AP), served as a judge. Of his experience, he states, “Participating as a VEI judge reaffirmed the beautiful urgency behind the wonder, inventiveness and determination of these future entrepreneurs, creatives and industry leaders. It reaffirmed in me the critical obligation of my generation—to willfully offer Zoomers and iGeners a voice and seat at the table of our collective future. This virtual competition reasserted the fact that our society desperately needs the perspective and imagination of these young people for today’s solutions. I am ecstatic to both witness and empower these students as they begin the lifelong journey of molding dreams into reality—dreams that I believe will find our world a better place.”
In keeping with tradition, AP and VEI developed a way for VEI students to benefit from the competition’s annual CEO address, which normally takes place when the event is held in-person at AP’s Holbrook, N.Y., headquarters. On March 8, Dolber gave a virtual address to VEI students, which was followed by an enthusiastic round of questions from attendees.
The firm’s commitment to nurture the talents of America’s future business leaders early in their academic careers doesn’t begin and end with sponsorship of competitive events; in 2016, AP and VEI launched the AP-VEI Internship Fellows Program. This unique program creates pathways for students who have completed VEI’s business and entrepreneurship program to go on to summer internships with AP and other companies. This multi-year, national initiative serves as the catalyst for other companies to aid in the development of the next generation’s workforce. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for both VEI students and our affiliated investment professionals,” says Dolber. “Advisors not only gain a helping hand when they take part in this program, they’re investing in an emerging talent pool of thought leadership for a future society.”
The firm looks forward to continuing its support of VEI throughout the year with internship and mentoring opportunities at its corporate offices, as well as nationwide throughout its 396 branch offices comprised of financial services business owners.
About American Portfolios
Headquartered in Holbrook, N.Y., American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (APFS) is a full-service, independent broker/dealer and member firm of FINRA and SIPC, offering a complete range of financial services, including personal financial and retirement planning, securities trading, mutual funds, access to investment research, long-term care planning, insurance products and tax-free investing. Fee-based asset management is offered through its sister subsidiary, American Portfolios Advisors, Inc., (APA), an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Both entities, along with technology entity American Portfolios Advisory Solutions, LLC, collectively reside under the legal entity American Portfolios Holdings, Inc. (APH). Full-service securities brokerage is available through a clearing firm relationship with Pershing, LLC, a BNY Mellon firm, the securities of which are held on a fully disclosed basis. The company currently supports 851 independent investment professionals—inclusive of registered assistants—and more than 375 non-registered associates, located in 396 branch locations throughout the nation. It was named Broker-Dealer of the Year* (Division III) by Investment Advisor magazine for six consecutive years (2015-2020); a 2019 and 2020 WealthManagement.com Industry Award Finalist in multiple categories, and the 2020 winner in the service category of B/Ds under 1,000 representatives for its Virtual Administrative Services (VAS) program**; one of the Best Companies to Work for in the state of New York for five consecutive years (2016-2020) by the New York State Society for Human Resources Management (NYS-SHRM) and the Best Companies Group (BCG); and one of the Top Long Island Workplaces for 2018, 2019 and 2020 by Newsday.
* Based on a poll of registered representatives conducted by Investment Advisor magazine. Broker/dealers rated highest by their representatives are awarded “Broker/Dealer (B/D) of the Year.”
** Wealthmanagement.com Industry Award finalists are selected by a panel of independent judges made up of subject matter experts in the industry. Award is based on support provided to AP’s affiliated people and does not reflect public customers nor their account performance.
About Virtual Enterprises
VEI is a non-profit organization that provides experiential learning programs to schools across Long Island and beyond. Through their live global business simulation, students are offered a competitive edge through project-based collaborative learning that allows them to create and operate every facet of a virtual business. This program helps students develop 21st-century skills in entrepreneurship, global business, problem solving, communications, personal finance and technology.