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Shelby County's first CEO Trade Show

SHELBYVILLE — Shelby County CEO facilitator Anna Kiley said her students were ready to debut their new businesses at a trade show. But she wasn't sure the community would show.

"I was worried we wouldn't have anybody show up," she said.

They did, though. And organizers dubbed the Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities trade show a success.

For the county's first CEO trade show, held Wednesday, business leaders, government officials, and other community members funneled into Spruce St. Studios in Shelbyville to see the high school students' booths.

"It's a big day for the kids," said State Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville). "I'm excited for them and I'm glad to see this program happening in Shelby County."

At one booth, Windsor junior Clayton Gochanour displayed his necklaces, made with bullets as pendants.

At another, Shelbyville senior Thomas Quick took bookings for his bounce house rental company.

"I have two nieces and nephews," Quick said. "I love them a ton and I love making people happy. That's where the business idea came from."

By Wednesday, Quick said he already had 15 reservations. Because he invested his own money into buying two bounce houses, Quick said he'd like to continue the business long-term.

Nearby, Courtney Probst was pitching her farm photography business. On display were images she'd taken of her father's cattle.

"I grew up on a farm and I wanted a meaningful business," the Stewardson-Strasburg senior said. "I thought farm photography would show the hard work and everyday struggle of farmers."

Borrowing from his mother's recipe, Shelbyville senior Mason Cameron learned to make bath bombs and bubble bars. He was selling his pleasant-smelling products Wednesday.

"I didn't see anything that would be as successful as this," he said. "And so far, it's going pretty well. People have been buying one to five bath bombs."

Blue Tiger Cosmetics is a business Cameron would like to keep going even if he moves away. In that case, he said he'd still like the business to stay local and may hire his mother as an employee.

Marshall Nohren, a Cowden-Herrick senior, said his business was designed to find better electric rates for companies and schools. He said the trade show was easy compared to the murder mystery fundraiser the class put on in January.

"Having the experience of running an event with several hundreds of people made this a piece of cake," Nohren said.

The trade show Wednesday was the pinnacle of Shelby County's first CEO class, Kiley said. During the first semester, students learned about entrepreneurship. In the second semester, they launched their own companies.

"This class helped me refine the skills I had," Nohren said. "I can conduct business with adults. I recommend anyone to take this class."

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