Local Leaders Launch Entrepreneurship Program for Crawford County Students

by September 21, 2022 at 3:14 pm

Crawford CountyThe CEO of Crawford (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) is a new district-wide program aimed at high school students interested in business and entrepreneurship. The program is scheduled to begin serving students in the fall of 2023. Efforts are underway to increase community support and investment.

The program provides high school students with 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 visits, guest speakers, and mentorship. It challenges them to become communicators, networkers, problem solvers, and creative thinkers. The Discovery learning environment features two consecutive experiences for program participants: team-based teamwork, and real individual work showcased in a presentation competition and trade fair event.

The CEO Program is a model established by the Midland Institute of Entrepreneurship and there are more than 62 other programs operating in seven other states. Seneca County launched its first Ohio program in 2021 and Crawford is scheduled to join them as the second in 2023.

High school students of all skill sets and backgrounds can be successful in this transformative, life-changing experience that inspires entrepreneurial thinking and develops the workforce of the future. The CEO’s success is reflected in the development of key skills and an extended and long-term network of community members and business owners. Many students went on to run their businesses after graduating from the program, and graduates were also more likely to remain in or return to their home communities.

said Shayden Heiser, a graduate of the inaugural Seneca CEO Program and owner of Heiser Cattle Co. “I never realized that there are so many resources and local networks in a small community like ours. I always thought you needed to move to a more urban area to be successful in business. Because of the CEO, I am excited to grow my business here in Seneca County.”

The Crawford CEO Program is run 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 Galion-Crestline Chamber, District Commissioner Larry Schmidt, James Patrick of Bucherous Cooper Kettle, Avery Richardson of Bucherous Chamber, Todd Boyer of Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, Kevin Furman of the Mid-Ohio Education Service Center and Todd Martin of Colonel Crawford Local Schools.

The program operates entirely through community support; Neither the students nor the schools pay for participation. Currently, the group’s biggest need is to have at least 35 local businesses willing to support the program by investing $1,000 annually. The CEO at Crawford is asking companies to invest in the future of society by committing to support this program annually. Once launched, the program will need companies to host students at their sites, speakers to share knowledge and experience, and mentors who will be paired with students and volunteers to help advance the program. At the moment, raising 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 CEO of Crawford will host a “community kick-off” event at Bakers Pizza to introduce the community to the program. Guests will hear from Chris Egelston from Midland Institute as well as students who participated in last year’s Seneca County CEO Program. Business leaders as well as interested parents, students and community members are encouraged to attend. Donors who commit to supporting the program will also be honored at the event.

Board member David Zack said: “The CEO Program is a proven national model that works with businesses and schools to turn high school students into real-world entrepreneurs and exemplary employees of the future. I know the program well, and I am excited to be part of helping it launch it here in the county. Crawford”.

For more information about the Crawford CEO Program, to inquire about becoming a supporter, or to respond to an invitation to attend the event, contact our Chairman, Audrey Flood at 440-387-6562 or aflood@fesco-oh.org. Learn more about the public program at Discoverceo.com.

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