Beginner’s Guide to the DECA Virtual Business Challenges

October 13, 2020

Submission deadline extended to February 18, 2022

The DECA Virtual Business Challenge (VBC) is a series of fast-paced, online simulations that challenge students to manage tasks in a virtual business. If you have walked through the exhibit hall at any past ICDC, then you may have seen this intriguing competition unfolding live. DECA’s VBC program offers eight tracks of competition—Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Fashion, Hotel Management, Personal Finance, Restaurant, Retailing and Sports. This lesser-known competitive event series allows members to qualify for ICDC, compete for coveted DECA glass and earn a share of $20,000 in scholarship money.

If you are curious about competing in one of these events, read on to find out more!

What is VBC?

DECA's Virtual Business Challenges are online competitive events in which you must efficiently maintain a virtual business while achieving high profits and customer satisfaction. This web-based business simulation utilizes a competition version of Knowledge Matter’s Virtual Business software. During the qualifying rounds, you will run your business for a predetermined amount of simulated time. The top teams are invited to compete live during ICDC for DECA glass. (Check with your Chartered Association Advisor for your association's policies). In this phase of the competition, your team must employ acquired strategies to go head-to-head with the best international competitors.

How can I compete in a qualifying round?

The DECA VBCs allow competitors to register in teams of one to three members. The competition begins with two sets of qualifying rounds, which generally occur in late-October and mid-January. During each ten-day round, teams are free to experiment with the competition simulation and have no time restrictions for each submission. A live scoreboard displays all teams who complete at least one run-through, where teams are ranked based on their final calculated score. After the qualifying rounds close, the top two teams in each region (Central, North Atlantic, Southern and Western) for each round may be invited to compete at ICDC.

What happens if I qualify for ICDC?

At ICDC, you are then tasked with completing the Virtual Business Challenge live. Beginning with the 2021 DECA International Career Development Conference, the format for the VBC competition will change. For each track, all 16 teams will compete in two sessions, and the final rankings will be determined based on the cumulative score from both sessions. In each round, teams face an added time pressure of 15 minutes for one submission. During this competition, a live scoreboard displays team positions in real-time. Once the fifteen-minute timer expires, the simulations are frozen. During ICDC, the finalist teams will be recognized with medals and the top three teams are awarded respective DECA glass.

How can I get involved?

If you are interested in competing in one of these events, be sure to talk with your advisor as they must help you register to compete. Registration information including information about tracks, rules, specific dates and deadlines can be found here. Best of luck with managing your virtual business!


Knowledge Matters is the leading provider of cloud-based, educational simulations for business (food service, hospitality, retailing, sports management and manufacturing) and personal finance. The company’s Virtual Business line of simulations has been used in over one-third of all the high schools in the United States.

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