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County to launch youth entrepreneurial program

The LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation, LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation, along with the four schools in the county, are kicking off an entrepreneurial program this month to benefit area students and the community.

The program, Launch LaGrange County, will give students the opportunity to start their own business. They will also compete for college scholarships, business grants and other awards and opportunities.

The program started earlier this week with a rally at Westview High School. Molly Manns, club sponsor at Westview High School, spoke at the rally, saying, “Launch LaGrange County offers Westview students, and students throughout the county, a practical way to develop real-world business and leadership skills.”

Lakeland, Prairie Heights and Howe Military Academy will have their kick-off events within the next few weeks.  Following the rallies, LCEDC and its partners will sponsor student entrepreneur clubs at each high school.

Clubs at each school will meet regularly throughout the school year as they establish a school-based entrepreneurship community to work together to develop a business plan. The plans will be presented to a panel of judges and the public at each school in February, with the top three plans from each school advancing to a county-wide competition. There, they will present to a panel of investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and community leaders.

“The goal of this program is not to discourage students from going to college or entering other post-secondary training programs. Instead, it will afford them an opportunity to see the opportunities that exist and better determine where they want their career focus to be,” stated Ryne Krock, President of LCEDC. 

While there are many benefits of Launch LaGrange County, one of the hopes of the LCEDC and the other supporters, is that by helping area students be successful in finding viable business opportunities, it will ultimately help the county retain talented youth.

The LCEDC is calling on LaGrange County residents, companies and business and civic leaders to consider sponsoring the program, a scholarship or a mentorship. For more information or to get involved, please contact the LaGrange County EDC at (260)499-4994 or via email at rkrock@lagrangecounty edc.com or visit the program website at launchlagrangecounty.com.