By Brant Mackey

The 2015-2016 Sangamon CEO program is pleased to announce Sangamon CEO versus Sharks, a showcase of small group businesses that CEO students have been working on during the fall semester. In seven different groups, the Sangamon CEO students will present a business pitch of their ideas to local business investors from the Sangamon County area.

Sangamon CEO will host the event on Jan. 16 at the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation (228 W. Miller St. Springfield, IL 62781). The event is open to the public and tickets are $50 per person or $30 for students 18 and under. Seating is limited. Part of the proceeds from the event will be used to finance new businesses created by CEO students in their second semester. Tickets may be purchased from a Sangamon CEO student or online at Checks should be payable to Sangamon CEO and mailed to 205 South Fifth St., Suite 930, Springfield, IL 62701.

A preliminary round will begin at 4 p.m., through a “shark tank” competition seven business ideas pitched by students will be reduced to three finalists. From 5-6:30 p.m., entertainment, food and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. The three finalists will start at 6:30 p.m.

Please use #CEOvsSharks to join the conversation for this event.

The Sangamon CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program is a collaboration between local businesses and school districts in Sangamon County. It is a year long, accredited high school class studying entrepreneurship by connecting students to business leaders and allowing them to experience the challenges and rewards of running a business.

Thirty-one high school seniors from nine different high schools in and around Sangamon County (Auburn High School, Edinburg High School, Lanphier High School, Pleasant Plains High School, Rochester High School, Sacred Heart Griffin, Southeast High School, Springfield High School and Tri-City High School) meet for class each day at a different business. Emphasizing real-world learning, actual business owners share their knowledge and experience with students who can then utilize what they learn to create a real business with real money, including business and marketing plans which they present to bankers at the end of the school year.   

Brant Mackey can be reached