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Logan County students to get entrepreneurship program

About 20 Logan County students next fall will take part in course designed to introduce entrepreneurship to teenagers.

Lincoln College on Monday announced its new partnership with local businesses to create the Land of Lincoln CEO program.

The initiative is modeled after courses in Effingham and Springfield, where businesses sponsor an interactive, yearlong series of classes for high school seniors to learn what it takes to run a successful business.

Patrick Doolin, founder and CEO of Lincoln-based Integrity Data, said the goal is to launch at the start of the 2015-16 school year. The class will be open to high school seniors from the Lincoln, Mount Pulaski, Hartsburg-Emden and Olympia school districts.

Applications will be available through the Chamber of Commerce for Lincoln and Logan County sometime after winter break.

Doolin, a 1987 graduate of Lincoln Community High School who returned to the community to start his own business, said he hopes the program will help keep young people in Logan County.

“We can help students start businesses ... that could ultimately create a positive impact to the economy, create jobs and bring new opportunities rather than always hoping for that big windfall employer to come,” Doolin said.

Students will spend each morning at a different business location, and throughout the year, the class will learn the principals of business ownership, but also will work together to run a business, with each student taking on various roles.

The program is funded through businesses encouraged to make a $1,000 investment over three years. Doolin said anyone interested can contact the chamber.

The course also has the benefit of partnering with Lincoln College, which will provide support in a variety of ways, including guest speakers, facilities and helping students pursue a college degree, he said.

“The Land of Lincoln CEO program functions much differently than a classroom,” Doolin said. “It’s a very engaging program.”

Bruce Sommer, who chairs the Sangamon County CEO Program that started three years ago, said this year’s class expanded to 26 students from 18 last year. With 50 applications, the goal is to hopefully offer a second class, he said.

Five of the 18 students in the first graduating class are still running businesses they started while going to school, while others have pursued a degree in business, he said.

A CEO program also is underway in Jacksonville and is planned for Taylorville.

“It’s a unique program that is having a real impact,” Sommers said.

Contact Jason Nevel: jason.nevel@sj-r.com, 788-1521, twitter.com/JasonNevelSJR.

Read more: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140922/News/140929829#ixzz3PaGTuN4b


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