Dreaming big: Kids get business ‘practice' thanks to Chamber
BY MARILYN OLSON
Some very enterprising middle school students in Joliet have big dreams! On May 17 those ideas were presented to the public at an entrepreneurship Expo held at the University of St. Francis, Joliet.
The Entrepreneurship Club, sponsored by the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, gives middle school students a chance to come up with an idea for a product or service, or a solution to a problem or community issue.
"We had worked with high school students for the last five years, but had not developed a program for middle school students," said Russ Slinkard, President and CEO of the chamber. "So we started this club through our Education Committee."
The new program began in January 2012 and is set to run January through May. This was a one-year pilot program, which will be evaluated to decide if it should be continued.
Under the leadership of co-chairpersons Larry Weirs of Lewis University and Bonnie Covelli of the University of St. Francis, the club currently has eight participating schools: Joliet District 86, Troy District, Rockdale District, and the Diocese of Joliet.
"It is amazing to see the huge variety of ideas these young people have come up with," Slinkard said. "One club is developing a new app for the iPhone; another is building replicas of exotic cards (so if you can't afford the real thing, you can get the next best thing!); another is looking for a storefront to open a supply store for
The expo was open to the public, and gave guests the opportunity to talk with the young entrepreneurs and see their projects.
"It's amazing what these students can do if you give them a chance," Slinkard said. "They are so creative, and so exuberant!"
For more information, contact the chamber at 815-727-5371.