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Pike CEO program raises more than $30,000 for inaugural class

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- More than $30,000 has been raised to support the inaugural class of the Pike County CEO program.

CEO, which is short for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities, was developed by the Effingham-based Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship to enable high school students to become self-reliant, enterprising individuals who have the tools to start successful businesses and contribute to the economic and social development of their communities.

Shawn Rennecker, chairman of the Pike County CEO Board, said more than 20 investors contributed $30,750 to establish the program.

"In addition to the investors, we continue to receive great interest form business and community leaders in the county to serve as presenters and mentors and share their knowledge, stories and philosophies with the class. We are looking forward to the class starting in the fall of 2016."

The CEO program is now offered in 28 locations regionally.

The program, which is funded by investors, will be open to high school juniors and seniors from public and private schools. Students will be selected through an application process.

Those selected will meet 90 minutes each day and earn two high school credits.

The program uses area businesses to serve as classrooms. Students will visit dozens of area businesses each year and hear from many guest speakers.

Students will have the opportunity to start their own business with the help of a mentor from the business community.

The program will also host an annual trade show to showcase the businesses created by students.

For more information on the Pike County CEO program, contact Rennecker at 217-742-3128, or visit

Source: By Matt Hopf Herald-Whig

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