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CEO Students Preparing for Trade Shows

Union County CEO team members are launching their own businesses after months of planning and preparation.   

The businesses are scheduled to first be on display to the public at the Southern Illinois Regional Youth Entrepreneur Trade Show, which is planned at the Dunn Richmond Center in Carbondale on April 23, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.   

On May 6, Union County residents are invited to view the trade show booths at the Davie School Inn in Anna from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  

Many local business people and community leaders have helped guide the students through writing business plans, product or service development, defining customer service, and determining legalities and financing.  

Then another 10 local professionals reviewed the detailed business plans while meeting with the CEO team members before they met one on one with the loan committee.

As Kathy Bryan, Union County CEO program facilitator explained: “One of the last steps in the UCCEO program’s personal business development is the final pitch to board members and loan approval. 

“This year it was called Shark Tank Day after the television series, ‘Shark Tank.’

“Each UCCEO team member had developed an elevator pitch to draw the sharks’ interest while explaining their business. 

“They met individually with the sharks, gave their pitch, explained their business and then were asked questions about their business.   

“If this was a typical class, the process would be over. 

“But, in CEO, it doesn’t end there. Each of the team members must implement their business plan and start their business. 

“Good luck to each of them as they move onto the next step in the UCCEO program.”

Every person the students have met throughout the class has helped them in some way including modeling the personality traits of good leaders like fairness, appreciation, vision, passion, knowledge, integrity, sincerity and high expectations.  

From others they have learned specific skills in written, verbal and electronic communication; marketing; financial considerations; and presentation of self with body language, voice and professional attire.  

Still others have shared their stories of courage and risk, with unlikely paths to success while overcoming failure.  

Every person they have met has offered assistance in the future: that is well over 75 adults that the young adults can call upon in the future.

Students have met from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. every school day, all school year, always in a business.  

Union County CEO is completely funded by businesses, individuals and organizations.  

Under the direction of the CEO advisory board, the program, a chapter of the Midland Institute of Entrepreneurship, partners with the schools so the Union County juniors and seniors selected for the program earn 2 weighted high school credits.

The ultimate goal is to help these young people to reach their full potential as adults in whatever business they choose to be involved with and to encourage them to return to Union County and our region as future leaders.

More information about the program can be found by going to unioncountyceo.org/news or Facebook: Union County CEO.

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