The "Local" Network
Each individual practice firm belongs to a central office which serves as the gateway to the more than 4000 practice firms worldwide. The central office coordinates the activities of all of the firms belonging to their network. Mercer County Community College serves as a central office for approximately 38 firms across the United States. This office is known as the Center for Simulated Business Services (CSBS). In addition to its training and coordination function, CSBS delivers the simulated business services required to operate a BPF in a realistic manner. These include: government (incorporation and taxes), banking (both domestic and international) and market (rent, utilities, supplier for product/service).
The National Network
Currently there are five networks in the United States: CSBS at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, Virtual Enterprise Center in New York City (www.veinternational.org), California Network of Virtual Enterprises, International (www.virtualenterprise.org), South Carolina Virtual Enterprise Network (www.scven.org), Tennessee Virtual Enterprise Network (www.virtualenterprisetn.org) and Virtual Enterprise Virginia (www.nnadmin.sbo.nn.k12.va.us/ve/). These five central offices collectively serve approximately 400 high schools and colleges in the United States. The U.S. National Network serves as the link to PEN International, the worldwide association of practice firms, formerly known as EUROPEN.
The International Network
There are approximately 4000 practice firms from more than 37 different countries. Each country has a central office to coordinate the activities of the practice firms in their country. PEN International (www.europen.de) is the international organization that was set up to support, co-ordinate and develop services for all practice firms. PEN International's objectives are to:
- Facilitate exchange of information
- Provide innovative training tools to its members
- Promote the practice firm concept
- Represent its members at different government levels