#333. Entrepreneurs – Entrepreneur Early…Entrepreneur Often

Posted on | The Agurban
Entrepreneurs – Entrepreneur Early…Entrepreneur Often
“Vote early and vote often” is a quote often attributed to Chicago politics.  My hometown of Effingham, IL has turned that phrase on its ear for entrepreneurs, “Entrepreneur early and entrepreneur often.”
Four years ago Midland States Bank and other local banks and businesses in the county started a youth entrepreneurship class for local high school students.  The first class of students named the class CEO, for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities.
The six high schools in the county each send students to the class which meets from 7:30 am to 9 am each school day, conducting the classes in different businesses around the county.  Craig Lindvahl, entrepreneur, Emmy award winning film producer, and teacher, has taught the class since it was started.  He also is heading the new Midland Institute for Entrepreneurism to duplicate the class in other locations, an effort funded by Midland States Bank.
The 25 students each have to start their own business during the year, as a capstone to the intensive year of business plans, competitions, and inspiration.  Here were some of my favorites from this year’s class.
Taylor Goeckner, is producing customized portable fire pits.
Austin Kopplin, started www.GiggleFrame.com, a social media website, for the posting of funny photos and captions.
Vince Higgs and Christo Schultz (a nephew) are doing Compressed Natural Gas conversions of pick-ups.
Alexis Teichmiller is an author and publisher, having written a book about her experience.  Investing in Human Capital is a great read on the class.
Michael Nosbisch’s www.KnowHomework.com sends out text and email messages to students and their parents of their homework assignments each day.
Even though this Millennial Generation is going to be the most entrepreneurial generation in the history of the USA, not every one of these 25 students/year are going to end up starting new businesses.  But, all know that they can, if they wish.
Perhaps the most telling impact of this class upon Effingham long term, was a survey of this year’s class done prior to the start of it, showed that 3 out of the 25 had plans to come back home after college.  The same survey at the end of the class had 21 out of the 25 now with plans to come back!
What are you doing to grow your own young entrepreneurs?
Next week’s Agurban: Community Banks – What I’d Do