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High School Entrepreneurs Exhibit at CEONext National Trade Show

On Sunday, June 9, 2019, 30 high school entrepreneurs will exhibit their businesses at the CEONext National Trade Show from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1501 South Neil Street, in Champaign, Ill. The event will showcase innovative products and services developed by CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) students selected from 202 schools in 51 small towns and rural communities across the Midwest. The CEO Program’s CEONext National Trade Show is the culmination of a business, economic development, and academic collaboration administered by the Mid- land Institute for Entrepreneurship to teach and to experience 21st century skills of problem-solving, teamwork, self-motivation, responsibility, higher-order thinking, communication, and imagination.

2019 White County CEO student, BeccaWestbrook, has been selected to participate in the National  Trade Show. Her business is Culture Shock, featuring essential oil products inspired by various cultures. Westbrook was also selected by the White County CEO Board as their 2019 Trade Show Salesperson of the Year.

Many small towns and agricultural communities throughout the United States are struggling to find ways to survive economically. One innovative way to grow and to keep residents and businesses from relocating to metropolitan areas is to create entrepreneurial energy from within the community. The Midland Institute’s CEO Program is an educational program that helps high school seniors learn problem solving and business skills through interactions with local business and community leaders. The program is a community-supported, investor-funded, year-long accredited class that has spread statewide in Illinois and is rapidly expanding into other Midwestern  states.

The CEO Program  equips students with the necessary soft skills, such as communication and problem resolution, to work within a group setting to develop a class business the first semester. Ultimately, each student “learns-by-doing” by actually starting and running his or her own enterprise the second semester while cultivating essential sales, marketing, financial, and administrative skills with the support of a CEO facilitator and local community business mentors.

Established in 2008 by a forward-thinking group of Effingham business leaders and originally led by a respected nationally recognized local educator, Craig Lindvahl, the CEO Program fosters a seedbed of creativity, collaboration, confidence, and communication by nurturing students from all socio-economic backgrounds to lay the groundwork for personal as well as for community growth and success.

At this year’s CEONext event, CEO students from across the spectrum of communities were selected to present their businesses at the national trade show with an awards ceremony to follow. Each  student is competing for the opportunity to win one of three $2,500 Award of Excellence to be invested back in to their individual business.

The CEONext National Trade Show is open to the public, and attendees will have the opportunity to buy products, sign up for services, and book appointment times with the owners at each booth.

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