CEO Program to host first student trade show May 29

Published 9:46 am Saturday, May 18, 2019

By Emily Hovland

Austin High School Language Arts Teacher and CEO Facilitator

This year, Austin Public School and Pacelli Catholic Schools introduced a new opportunity for our students. The Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) program gives students the opportunity to learn about business from local community leaders while simultaneously creating their own businesses. The CEO board has been working on bringing this unique program to the Austin community over the past few years, and so far, it’s been a huge success.

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This year, our students and business partners have connected in many ways, from business tours, which helped us to understand our community on a deeper level, to mentor relationships, which allowed students to grow personally and professionally and create connections that will last a lifetime.

We’ve welcomed a list of successful business people to class to share their stories, their expertise, and their wisdom, and we have watched our students grow and mature throughout the year while learning many real-world lessons.

In its inaugural year, the Mower County CEO program had 15 students. We have visited more than 50 businesses and welcomed more than 80 guests. Additionally, the students have created ID badges, hosted the first CEO class business (a banquet at The Hormel Home), met monthly with mentors to work on turning their business plans into a reality, completed class and individual business plans, started their own businesses, and developed a network of business professionals who are incredibly supportive and eager to help the students succeed.

Our area business community has openly welcomed our program into their daily operations and the result is that our students have had exposure to the variety of businesses in our community.

As this year comes to an end, students are working to finalize their individual businesses and inventory. From 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29, we will be hosting the first Mower County CEO Trade Show at The Hormel Historic Home. This event is free and open to the public, and we would like to encourage the community to come and check out the different businesses and support all our wonderful students. There will be great variety and something for everyone.

We are excited about the experiences these students have had and are looking forward to a stellar end of the year.  This has been an amazing opportunity for our students, and should continue to be an excellent program for our community moving forward. We would like to thank both the community and our business leaders for all the support and encouragement.