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High school students show off businesses starting Tuesday night

Throughout the next three days, six different county high school programs will host three different trade shows to present the public what students have been working up all year long.

The Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities, or CEO, Program will host a series of trade shows — Tuesday in Harrisburg, and Thursday with one in Marion and another in Carbondale.

The shows kick off from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight at the Bonan Business Center, 540 N. Commercial St. in Harrisburg. This show will highlight the businesses from the Saline County CEO Program.

On Thursday, students from the Williamson County CEO program will meet from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the The Pavilion of the City of Marion at 1602 Sioux Drive. Facilitator Brandi Bradley said there will be 12 students showcasing 11 businesses. Two students have decided to partner together.

She said the trade show is where the community can see how hard the students have been working all year.

“The community should look at them as future entrepreneurs. They are not just students, they are entrepreneurs,” Bradley said. “This is a business, not a class.”

Individuals attending the shows will have the opportunity to buy products, sign up for services and book appointment times with the students at each business.

Jackson County CEO Facilitator Ken Stoner said this is like a typical trade show.

“These are registered businesses that will be charging sales tax,” he said. “The knowledge that they received over the year will be put into that one night.”

The Jackson County Program, along with the Union, Perry and Randolph CEO programs, will host from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive in Carbondale.

Stoner said there will be 31 businesses at the event and they will be grouped by the type of product or service the business owners are marketing, not by county.

He said there isn’t anything else he can do to prepare the students for the trade show, saying that every event up to this point, the students have exceeded his expectation.

“It’s about having faith in them and trusting that everything will go fine,” Stoner said. “There isn’t a whole lot I can do to make sure this runs smoothly. This is all on them.”

Source: The Southern Illinoisan
By: Dustin Duncan

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