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Seneca County becomes first Ohio community for national entrepreneurship program

TiffinOhio.net Staff

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File Photo: Seneca County Joint Justice Center

The Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship announced Friday that Seneca County has been approved to become the 58th community nationally – and the first in Ohio — to host a Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) program helping high school youth successfully start new businesses.

The Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship created the CEO program as a way to provide high school students of all skill sets and backgrounds the opportunity to be successful in a transformational experience that inspires entrepreneurial thinking and develops the workforce of tomorrow. Created in 2008, the program has grown to 58 programs operating in seven states.

“Today, more than ever, students not only need the soft skills instilled by this learning environment, more importantly, they need the entrepreneurial, problem-solving mindset that CEO inspires. We are excited to bring this transformational experience to Ohio and launching in Seneca County schools in 2021,” Brooks stated.

A new 501c3 nonprofit — Seneca CEO — recently was created to administer the program.

Edward VanHoose, President of Federated Energy Services Cooperative, including North Central Electric locally, is serving as the organization’s first president.

Together with Sutton Bank CEO Tony Gorrell, VanHoose and North Central Electric helped fund the start-up cost to bring the program here.

VanHoose saw the program firsthand when he worked in Southern Illinois a few years ago.

“I know this program works, makes business sense, and dramatically impacts local lives. Our first order of business is to secure the next three years of funding and hire a Facilitator, and we’re ready to get started,” VanHoose said.

The program operates completely though community funds; students and schools do not pay to participate. Seneca CEO asks local businesses to learn about the program and hopefully become a member and support the program on an annual basis.

Seneca CEO Board members include VanHoose, Gorrell, Suzie Reineke of Reineke Family Dealerships, Nate Brickner of Bascom Communications, David Zak of the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, Sarah Stevens-Krupp of the Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas, Dr. Laura Kagy of Seneca East Local Schools and Shawn Earl of Fostoria Local Schools.

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