The Midland Institute For Entrepreneurship held their National CEO Trade Show on Monday at the Thelma Keller Convention Center in Effingham. The Show is a chance for the top student-created businesses to show off their hard work. According to CEO Board Member Jack Schultz, participants in Monday’s show come from all around the midwest.
Take Mindy Myers for example. Mindy is a recent Teutopolis High School graduate and makes custom aprons, towels, and other kitchen prep items as part of her business, “Strings Attached.” She has both stock items and does custom orders and has attended several trade shows to sell her wares. Mindy says that her products are made to help people get together and spend time with each other. She plans on attending college in the fall and wants to take her business online.
Emma Speers, and exhibitor from Effingham, explained that she started a coloring book business called “Whimsical We” to help people connect. Her coloring books feature two images on each page. One side features a more detailed image for adults and the other features the same image, but with less detail for a younger artist. Emma plans to attend college and will study dance or art.
Lucas Batson, a recent graduate of Granite City High School, decided to turn his love of guitars into a business called “Encore Guitars.” Now he builds them using recycled parts. Lucas said that he’s always had an entrepreneurial attitude. At age 16, he started a lawn care business and was originally going to focus on that for the CEO Program. But after talking to one of his mentors, he decided to instead focus on his passion of building custom guitars.
Lucas ships off the Navy in the fall, but says he plans a to find a way to continue his business during, and after, his service.
Across several states, the CEO Program has about 500 participants, but 44 were chosen to exhibit in Monday’s show. The CEO Class is high school credit course that students must apply for. During the class, students work with local business people who mentor them as they build their own individual businesses. Each class also creates a group business for everyone in the course. The program is open to juniors and seniors.