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In an early morning meeting, students participating in Madison CEO discuss ideas for possible business investments. CONTRIBUTED

Madison CEO students engage in nonconventional study of entrepreneurship

MADISON – Students in three local high schools are examining entrepreneur possibilities by participating in the Madison Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities or Madison CEO venture.

Madison CEO originated with local business leaders creating a board of directors who “started pushing out word of the program to the students of John Paul II Catholic, Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools,” James Clemens student Bryson Hewell said. Business professionals have partnered to train youth interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

Madison CEO includes juniors and seniors:

* St. John Paul II Catholic High School — Belle Buehrle

* Bob Jones High School — Will Bao, Ian Finney, Sija Headrick, Leah Lessmann, Rebecca Meyer, Sam Pope, Sam Uchitel.

* James Clemens High School – Alaina Burnham, Micah Burrows, Lauren Chambers, Bryson Hewell, Jonah Roberts, Raven Williams.

Michael and Suzanne Katschke serve as facilitators.

More than a textbook course, Madison CEO immerses students in real-life learning experiences to take risks, manage results and learn from outcomes. CEO students always meet at a business – never in a school classroom.

In the “1 to 100” project, each student started with $1 and turned it into $100 in any way possible. They used the money as starting funds for their class business.

This semester, Madison CEO students collaborated to found a company that eventually would donate to a local business with some of the earned profits.

“We were in charge of creating a successful business,” Bob Jones student Sija Headrick said. “We started a positivity T-shirt company called Mad City Apparel. Our mission is to spread positivity one t-shirt at a time and to help the community by donating to a business.”

Next semester, students are evaluating their initial ideas for individual businesses. Their ideas include manufacture of brass casings for bullets and upcycled clothing. Another clothing brand could memorialize a person’s loved ones with printed merchandise, maybe with a quote or saying.

In addition, students suggested photography or a musical performance act for competitive sports, like a dance team, cheer team, color guard and ice skating.

Business investors are funding the entire program. Their annual investment of $1,000 provides necessary resources for facilitators’ salaries and other expenses and ensures the class’ future sustainability.

Madison CEO welcomes business owners or entrepreneurs to serve as mentors and share time and expertise with a CEO student.

For more information, visit madisonalceo.com.

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