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Edwardsville Community Foundation helps launch CEO Program

EDWARDSVILLE — The Edwardsville Community Foundation and the newly formed Edwardsville Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) Program are teaming up to give high school seniors firsthand business experience from local business owners.

The CEO Program is a year-long course that is designed to teach students how to develop and run successful businesses. The course, which began in 2008 in Effingham, Illinois, is open to seniors at Edwardsville High School, Father McGivney Catholic High School, and Metro East Lutheran High School.

“When students meet investors and feel the support that local businesses provide, they begin to truly believe in the concepts and ideas that are being taught to them,” said Edwardsville CEO Facilitator and Program Coordinator Hannah Allison. “The CEO Program allows students to gain real-world business knowledge from successful leaders in our community and develop skills that will give them a head start in their chosen professions.”

ECF is the fiscal agent for the innovative program that is designed to develop students’ skills in problem-solving, teamwork, self-motivation, responsibility, higher-order thinking, communication, and inquiry. Through the course, students visit area businesses, learn from guest speakers, participate in class businesses and start and operate their own businesses. Nine students are currently enrolled in the program, and more than 18 local businesses have committed to supporting the program or serving as speakers.

“Edwardsville has a great business community and we’ve already seen a lot of positive support for this program,” said ECF Executive Director Pam Farrar. “So far, 19 local businesses have pledged $3,000 over the next three years to help fund the program and more than a half dozen others have committed to smaller donations or acting as mentors for the program. It’s really exciting to see that kind of community support.”


Allison said the CEO program is always looking for guest speakers and local investors. For more information on how to get involved, contact Hannah Allison at 618-610-9714 or visit the Edwardsville CEO program website at For more information about the Edwardsville Community Foundation, call Pam Farrar at 618-520-8099 or go to

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