Five Prospect High School students have received CEO status in the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce 2013 Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
After months of hard work, this year's instructor, Katie Dolan Dix of Capannari Ice Cream, awarded the class their diplomas last month, alongside chamber Executive Director Dawn Fletcher Collins.
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"The purpose of the ceremony was to honor the students, but also to acknowledge all of the community support -- especially the sponsorship of the program by Robert Bosch Tool Co. and American Chartered Bank," Collins said in a news release.
"This is a unique program, where kids can actually launch real businesses or social movements," said Dix. This year's enterprises range from Zzz Sock, bedding that eases the burden of making a bed, to HomeBox, a college care package service.
The graduates were sophomore Alec Buchanan, owner of Oraie; senior Kyle Blatt and Jeff Blethen, co-owners of Zzz Sock; senior Maddy Maloney, owner of HomeBox; and senior Dan Sweet, owner of Striive.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a groundbreaking nine-month program that guides high school students through the process of starting a business. They are taught by local entrepreneurs and are introduced to guest lecturers, successful entrepreneurs, and business mentors. They brainstorm ideas, write business plans and launch their own companies.
The program includes business plan development, pitching to an investor panel, obtaining funding, launching the venture, managing media campaigns, e-commerce and Web development, sales events and trade shows. Students are taught to recognize the power of their ideas, and to develop the skills necessary to turn those ideas into meaningful enterprises.
Students showed off their startup businesses at the YEA! Trade Show last month at Costco Wholesale in Mount Prospect.
The program is accepting applications for the YEA! Class of 2014. Call (847) 398-6616, or go to mountprospectchamber.org to learn more.