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Coshocton HS connects students to business community with entrepreneur club

Encouraging the next generation of local small business owners is the goal of the entrepreneur club at Coshocton High School.

The adviser is Adam Clark, who has taught at CHS for 17 years and is currently an instructor for economics and personal finance. He said the club started last school year and this year has six to eight members. They meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during an open period time.

Clark said the concept was discussed between him and Kirby Hasseman, owner of Hasseman Marketing and Communications and past president of the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce, based on Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio in Canton wanting to start such local groups.

"I have wanted to have an entrepreneur’s club for years in Coshocton County. There was never the right time or the right partner," Hasseman said until Junior Achievement got involved. "The idea is simple, give kids that are interested a bit of information about how to start a business. And then give them practical ideas on how to get started."

Clark said they use the organization's three part JA Be Entrepreneurial curriculum and have had guest speakers talking about their businesses and how they got started. This has included Hasseman, Carly Thompson of Howard Hanna Real EstateMichelle Turner Ganz of Dean's Jewelry and Tiffany Swigert of the Coshocton Port Authority. Last spring featured a walking tour of Downtown Coshocton with students visiting local businesses and learning about projects such as the Coshocton Collaborative.

"The kids get real life advice from business people and it starts networking," Clark said of the value to students.

Along with her real estate company, Thompson spoke to the students about the other ventures she and her husband, Jason, operate. This includes the Thompson Business Center and Annex, Thompson Ninety-Nine restaurant and Grason Properties and Construction.

She told them how when she got her first apartment and wrote a rent check it inspired her to at least be a homeowner, or possibly the one accepting the rent checks from others.

"Having normal people come in and visit their class makes it relevant to them," Thompson said. "It makes it a down to earth, real thing that anyone can put in the time, effort and education; all the resources they have into something and it can make a difference for these students right out of the gate, right out of high school."

For the future, Clark would like to build more mentor-mentee relationships and enter a nationwide business competition sponsored by Junior Achievement.

Junior Achievement also sponsored the school's 105 students recent visit to the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster for a college and career fair. That touched more students than just club members.

"That's helped our students, personally, outside the club and that came from networking with me," Clark said of the connection the entrepreneur club opened up with Junior Achievement.

Clark said they're always looking for new speakers and community connections, those interested can contact him at Coshocton High School or Hasseman at Hasseman Marketing.

This article originally appeared on Coshocton Tribune: Coshocton High School's entrepreneur club now in its second year


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