PEORIA –Startup Peoria entered into a five-year agreement with Junior Achievement of Central Illinois to provide seed capital to launch a high school entrepreneurship program in each of the five counties served by the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council.
The announcement was made last Thursday at the Startup Winter Mixer, the first of a series of Startup Peoria events this year to increase connectivity within the regional entrepreneurial community. During the event, Randon Gettys, the Startup Peoria coordinator, presented a $4,200 check for the seed funding to Sally Eastman, marketing manager of Junior Achievement of Central Illinois.
The new program, called JA Company Program®, will launch this fall in Tazewell County.
“We really want to be the leader in entrepreneurship education for youth locally,” said Eastman. “We know that JA alumni are two-and-a-half times more likely to be involved in the startup of a business than the general population. So we really want to bring that into the classroom in central Illinois.”
Students involved in the program will start their own business by first identifying a need or problem in their community. Throughout the school year they will execute the planning, marketing, funding, and other steps in the business development process to experience the full scope of starting a company from scratch.
“It gives high school students a chance to experience entrepreneurship in a real way that we have not had before,” said Gettys. “I could not be happier about this partnership and look forward to seeing how it unfolds throughout our region over the next five years.”