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CEO program gearing up for fall start

ALTON —Twenty Alton and Marquette high school students will have a chance to rub elbows with local business leaders and try their own hands at starting businesses through the new Riverbend CEO program.

Students will tour a wide variety of local businesses as part of the class, and when they are not visiting other sites there will be guest speakers. The program is funded by local businesses.

On Wednesday the group had an orientation meeting for students and their parents.

“It’s going very, very well,” said Monica Bristow, president of the RiverBend Growth Association .

The students will begin meeting August 17 at the community room for the first quarter, then move to IBEW Local 649. In the spring they will meet at Liberty Bank and the Simmons law firm auditorium, Bristow said.

During the first semester the students will develop a class business. Proceeds from that will help fund individual businesses the second semester.

The program was started about eight years ago by the Effingham-based Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship, and has spread to more than 40 schools in six states. Locally, Granite City and Belleville have programs already running, and others are starting this year in Macoupin County and Waterloo.

“We want the students to know what’s going on in their own communities,” said Bristow,. “This will give them an opportunity to learn what’s going on behind closed doors. We also hope they will see a lot of opportunities and careers right here.”

Program facilitator Katie McBee said everything is lining up “and everyone from the community is stepping up.”

Approximately 30 local businesses are participating in the program in some way.

“Everybody is more than willing to help out and participate,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of good support, and a lot of people backing us. I think it’s going to be a great program. We’re just really looking forward to the school year.”

For information about the program, call McBee at 618-420-2807 or visit the Riverbend CEO Facebook page.

Source: The Alton Telegraph

 By: Scott Cousins 

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