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Business class creates more opportunities in Lee, Ogle counties

January 11, 2018 GMT

STERLING – The Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities Program at the Whiteside Area Career Center is adding a second class to better accommodate students in Lee and Ogle counties.

The CEO class was created 4 years ago to shape high school juniors and seniors throughout the region into future business moguls through guidance from local entrepreneurs.

The students, now 20 to 25 a class, take what they’ve learned and apply it to creating and managing their own businesses.

That number could double with the additional class, which will give students from Lee and Ogle counties more access to businesses in their area, and will cut out the long drive to Sterling, Dixon Public Schools Superintendent Margo Empen said Wednesday.

Empen, a member of the CEO board, said they’ve talked about adding another class for years and reached out to investors in the last few months to make the class sustainable for the future.

“This is such an incredible program for kids to not only explore the incredible opportunities there are in their own backyards but also to give a whole other section of kids a chance to learn and grow and take advantage of the experience that the CEO program offers,” she said.

More than 200 businesses in the eastern Sauk Valley were invited to a luncheon in October to learn more about expanding the program, which partners with the Blackhawk Hills Regional Council and the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship in Effingham.

The outreach program drew 15 investors who got them “close enough” to their $50,000 goal, Empen said.

“We’re just very and excited and pleased,” she said. “ We have so many businesses in Lee and Ogle County for broadening their horizons.”