In a move aimed at enriching educational opportunities for local high school seniors, the Sangamon CEO program is strengthening its collaboration with Innovate Springfield, the downtown business incubator affiliated with the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). This partnership comes as a result of an agreement between the Sangamon CEO program, the Illinois State Board of Education’s Regional Office of Career and Technical Education (ROCTE), and iVenturED Inc., the Illinois nonprofit dedicated to local community interests.
Sangamon CEO, established in 2012, offers accredited high school and college dual-credit courses focusing on entrepreneurship and leadership for Sangamon County high school seniors. Over the years, the program has witnessed the graduation of more than 300 students, many of whom have gone on to establish more than 200 student-led businesses.
Ben Hage, also known as Nabih Elhajj, Director of Innovate Springfield, brings invaluable experience, having previously served as the leader of Sangamon CEO for eight years. This new agreement will enable him to continue guiding the program, fostering student growth and success.
Under the terms of the agreement, ROCTE will contribute funding to support students' participation in the program. Currently, 51 students from 10 area high schools are enrolled in the two sessions offered by the Sangamon CEO program, with next year's applications opening to high school juniors in January.
Officals say this collaboration promises to open doors to a wider network of innovators and entrepreneurs, enhancing opportunities for local students and fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship in Sangamon County.