Local Leaders Launch Entrepreneurship Program for Crawford County Students - Crawford County Now

Local Leaders Launch Entrepreneurship Program for Crawford County Students – Crawford County Now

By September 21, 2022 3:14 p.m.

CRAWFORD COUNTYCrawford CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) is a new county-wide program targeting high school students who are interested in business and entrepreneurship. The program is expected to begin serving students in fall 2023. An effort to increase community support and investment is currently underway.

The program offers high school students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a dynamic and authentic learning environment linked to the challenges and opportunities of the local community. The model connects students with community leaders through business tours, guest speakers, and mentorship. It challenges them to become great communicators, networkers, problem solvers, and creative thinkers. The discovery learning environment offers two culminating experiences for program participants: a team-built classroom enterprise and a true individual enterprise that is showcased in a pitch competition and trade show.

The CEO program is a model created by the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship and there are over 62 other programs operating in seven other states. Seneca County launched the first program in Ohio State in 2021 and Crawford is expected to join them as the second in 2023.

High school students of all skill levels and backgrounds can succeed in this transformational, life-changing experience that inspires entrepreneurial thinking and develops the workforce of tomorrow. PDG’s success is reflected in the development of essential skills and an extensive and lasting network of community members and business owners. Many students continued to operate their businesses after graduating from the program, and alumni were also more likely to stay or return to their home communities.

Shayden Heiser, a graduate of the inaugural class of the Seneca CEO program and owner of Heiser Cattle Co., said, “I never realized there were so many local resources and networks in a small community like ours. I’ve always thought you had to move to a more urban area to be successful in business. Due to the CEO, I am excited to expand my business right here in Seneca County. »

The Crawford CEO program is led by a strong group of local leaders, including Audrey Flood of the North Central Electric Cooperative, Nate Harvey of the Crawford Success Center, David Zak of the Crawford Partnership, Miranda Jones of the Galion-Crestline Chamber, Commissioner of County Larry Schmidt, James Patrick of Bucyrus Copper Kettle, Averee Richardson of Bucyrus Chamber, Todd Boyer of Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, Kevin Fourman of Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center, and Todd Martin of local Colonel Crawford Schools.

The program operates entirely through community support; neither students nor schools pay to participate. Currently, the group’s greatest need is to get a minimum of 35 local businesses willing to support the program with an investment of $1,000 per year. Crawford’s CEO is asking companies to invest in the future of the community by pledging to support this program each year. Once launched, the program will need businesses to host students at their sites, guest speakers to share their knowledge and experience, mentors to pair with students, and volunteers to help run the program. At present, gathering investors of $1,000 each is the most urgent need to ensure the success of the program.

On Tuesday, October 11 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the Crawford CEO will host a “Community Kickoff” event at Bakers Pizza to introduce the program to the community. Guests will hear from Chris Egelston of the Midland Institute as well as students who participated in the Seneca County CEO Program last year. Business leaders as well as interested parents, students and community members are encouraged to attend. Donors who pledge to support the program will also be recognized at the event.

Board Member David Zak said, “The CEO Program is a proven national model that works with businesses and schools to transform high school students into real-world entrepreneurs and ideal future employees. I know the program well and am excited to be part of launching it here in Crawford County.

For more information on Crawford’s CEO program, to find out how to become a supporter, or to RSVP for the event, contact Board Chair Audrey Flood at 440-387-6562 or aflood@fesco- oh.org. Learn more about the general program on Discoverceo.com.

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