Exciting experience for early entrepreneurs

April 2, 2012 03:49 PM
For students with an interest in one day starting their own business, an exciting new learning opportunity is now available. A youth entrepreneurship course will be held each Thursday evening at the at the Sustainable Business Center starting April 19 through June 21 from 6 pm to 8 pm. Students who participate will have the opportunity to learn how startups are formed and subsequently get off the ground. In addition to writing their own business plans, participants will have the chance to launch an actual venture.
"Those students with a product ready to market at the end of the class will have the opportunity to setup shop at the Knox County 4-H Fair, beginning July 31. From local foods to handmade jewelry, I am sure students will get creative," said Angel Wright, 4-H Program Coordinator.
The program is open to 7 through 12th grade students enrolled in 4-H throughout Knox, Warren, Henderson and McDonough counties. For those who are not 4-H members, a one-time $20 fee will apply.
Carrie McKillip, Unit Educator for University of Illinois Extension, will be assisting with the course. "The Entrepreneurial Support Network (ESN) of West Central Illinois, an organization Extension is a part of, has long worked to promote a more entrepreneurial culture throughout the region. ESN is pleased to see any effort reaching out to the youth and encouraging them to think entrepreneurially."
Ryan Lilly, manager of the Entrepreneurship Center of West Central Illinois, will serve as course instructor. Lilly commented on how valuable it will be for the class to be held at the Sustainable Business Center. "To learn about entrepreneurship from a textbook, in a classroom setting, may not prove exciting for students. The opportunity to meet a few of the companies at the incubator and study startups first-hand, however, should provide them with a meaningful and memorable learning experience."
Youth entrepreneurship is just one of the many strategies economic development staff is pursuing. "Within our Business and Industrial Development plan are both short and long-term strategies. Youth entrepreneurship requires a longer term in which to see a return on investment. Still, in order to make our region competitive in the new economy, a cultural shift needs to occur. The youth serve a critical role in this shift," said Cesar Suarez, Economic Development Director.
Sign-ups will be accepted until April 9. For an application contact Angel Wright at the University of Illinois Extension Office, 180 S. Soangetaha Road, Suite 108, Galesburg. Interested parties may also call 309-342-5108 or email angiew@illinois.edu.
For more information about the Entrepreneurship Center of West Central Illinois, please contact Ryan Lilly at 309-371-0473 or ryan.lilly@ebinetwork.org.


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