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Are you an entrepreneur?

Our local students learn the spirit of 'thinking outside the box'

The Southwest Minnesota CEO (Creating Entrepreneur Opportunities) chapter in Rock County is one of three CEO chapters of the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship program in Minnesota.
Recently Midland’s executive director Austin Brooks and national program manager Amy Tarr visited this year’s class of 14 students in Luverne. The organizers were impressed at what the three-year-old program has created, and so are we.
The Star Herald attended the early morning session with students who were dressed in suits and office attire, and we couldn’t help but be impressed as they answered questions about the area and who has left them with lasting impressions.
The program brings plenty of learning to the table through classroom work, visits to local businesses and discussions with local leaders.
Each student was articulate and sincere and has developed a network of local individuals to help them succeed in the future and also right now.
The success was on display Wednesday as each of the students from Luverne, Hills, Adrian, Pipestone and Edgerton opened their individual businesses to the public during the CEO Trade Show at Grand Prairie Events.
Brooks and Tarr asked if the students would continue their businesses after the class ends. Several said they would — others were doubtful.
“It’s OK to be an entrepreneur and work for someone else,” Brooks said. “But act as if you own it.”
If our future workforce acts on these CEO lessons, we will have some pretty exceptional workers in our midst.
At Hills-Beaver Creek Elementary, fifth-graders are introduced to the same it’s-OK-to-fail lessons that are emphasized with the older students. They’re told to learn from mistakes and push forward. These students will have their own in-house trade show Monday.
Teacher Dylan Gehrke added a “Shark Tank” experience where his 23 students shared the numbers behind creating a business and strike an investment deal with the panel of “investors.”
The experience for both the elementary and high school students of creating products or selling of services is priceless — as is the return of these students to their home towns years from now.

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