Streator High School student Mia Granados said joining the Streator Area CEO program broadened her perspective.
“I’m starting to see the possibilities of how I can open my own business,” she said at the Eastwood trade expo on Wednesday.
Granados was one of nine students managing eight CEO program enterprises during Wednesday’s trade event.
Granados’ Boba Center served black tea, milk, ice, and tapioca.
“I learned how to advertise, finance, and make a profit,” Granados added. I had to do it and enjoyed making it, so I think there’s a future for it. I’m open-minded.”
Guest speakers from many industries taught students about networking, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship throughout the semester.
Wednesday kids sold their items.
Senior Alexandra Austin founded Coastline T-Shirts. She said numerous clients ordered Wednesday.
“I could do this as a side gig,” Austin added. “With the right demographic, it could be successful.”
Senior Haley Barrett sold well. Panda Bakery sold nearly all of her 50 cake pops in chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon toast crunch flavors before the trade event.
Barrett stated he may start a business after graduation. I learned this thing takes a long time to manufacture. It’s pleasant yet time-consuming.”
Other businesses Wednesday include Second Hand Stories by Sara Dye (a gently used bookstore), Trenazon by Steven Goplin and Landen Mascote (a health supplement business), Jett’s Garden in a Pot by Jett Mehalic (garden kit business), Cerda Cuts by Christian Cerda (haircut business), and Clean Cutz by Kevin Rodriguez, which serves as a model business to demonstrate four simple steps in starting a business.
Last year, Rodriguez founded La Taqueria Saucedo while in the program. After last spring’s trade exhibition, Rodriguez’s firm has done well at events.
The CEO program taught Mehalic how to network, be more professional, and collaborate with others.
Mehalic, a junior, wants to return and grow.
Third-year Streator Area CEO program. Local investments drive it. Program board members said the course teaches business and networking skills and gives students hands-on experience running a firm.