Entrepreneurship education seeks to prepare people, especially youth, to be responsible, enterprising individuals who become entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers and contribute to economic development and sustainable communities. The CEO program is much more than a textbook course. Rather, students are immersed in real life learning experiences with the opportunity to take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes.
Entrepreneurship education is not just about teaching someone to run a business. It is also about encouraging creative thinking and promoting a strong sense of self-worth and accountability. Through entrepreneurship education, students learn how to create a business, and much more.
The CEO class covers the basics of conceptualizing, starting and running a small business. Concepts such as supply and demand, cost/benefit analysis, competitive advantage, and opportunity recognition are covered. In addition, coursework includes: innovative thinking strategies, product development, business structure, marketing, financial strategies, record keeping, and preparing an income statement, balance sheet, income and cash flow statements.
Entrepreneurial thinking (outside-the-box problem solving) is utilized throughout the course. The course is built around the National Entrepreneurship Standards and is linked to the Illinois Learning Standards.
- The CEO class meets Monday through Friday, 7:30 AM—9:00AM and is a year-long, two credit high school course with pending college dual accreditation.
- The class meets in local businesses and changes location every nine weeks.
- In addition to providing a professional business setting for the class, the various locations help students from multiple school districts establish a common identity based on their CEO experience.
- The class is offered to high school juniors and seniors throughout Effingham County.
- A key part of the success enjoyed by the class is rooted in a teacher who challenges each individual student and can manage constant change in the classroom. In addition, encouraging the active participation of business and community leaders adds to the cultivation of learning opportunities, mentoring, and networking.
- Support from school administrators throughout the county is essential to the development and ongoing success of the class. That support is evident in the cooperation and scheduling of students from multiple school districts.
- Funding comes from Business Partners, the Effingham Community Foundation and student projects.
- The student selection process is a defined process beginning with the school recommendation. In addition to a written request for admission, a student applicant must submit letters of recommendation and complete an entrepreneurial profile. Grades are not the defining admission standard.
- It is a year long, two-credit high school course.