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Jackson Co. CEO Class


The Jackson County CEO program has gotten off to a great start.  This is good news because the CEO stands for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities.  The goal of this class is to give these high school Juniors and Seniors hands on experiences creating their own small business. Being facilitated by Ken Stoner, an employee of the Southern Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC), there have been numerous opportunities for the students to interact with business leaders discussing various points as the students struggle to developing their own business plan.  Developing the future business leaders today is essential to promote growth in our region.

Aimee Wigfall, a small business owner and a business coach for the SBDC, was a speaker at a recent class.  She went through the step-by-step business plan workbook that the SBDC has to support those looking into developing their ideas into a viable business.  She stressed the importance of the executive summary being brief (while including all relevant facts as to why your business is necessary) as well as the importance of your financial projections of costs and revenue to be as realistic as possible.  Explaining these are the two main areas a banker will review prior to securing a business loan underlined the importance of this plan.  This brief overview of the step-by-step guide can be thought of as an introduction to all the areas these students will study; such as the different descriptions of businesses and their legal benefits or liabilities, setting up operations (insurance, employees etc) and selecting a location, marketing the business,  as well as general accounting principals.  

This class is non-traditional meaning more than just it doesn’t teach from a textbook.  The class begins at 7:30 and extends to include the first period class at their high school.  They meet off site visiting places like the SBDC’s Dunn-richmond building to hear speakers like Aimee Wigfall to meeting in an actual business conference room such as The Southern Illinoisan.  Tim Marston, a senior from Murphysboro High School stated that “The class has been very beneficial from learning how to present ourselves professionally and communicating clearly to planning the smallest details of an event.”  As a hopeful future small business owner he has been excited to be part of this class.  

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