Prairieland CEO is an entrepreneur education program offered to students in 3 area school districts, including PBL Community School District #10. The program is supported by numerous Central Illinois businesses and organizations, of which PBL Education Foundation is a supporter. Throughout the year students, led by the program facilitator, learn various parts of creating, owning and running their own business. The program offers a CEO Trade Show at the conclusion of the school year where these young entrepreneurs present their business and get feedback from potential customers.

During the recently completed 2022-2023 school year, PBL student Jashan Ghotra participated in the program. He has since graduated from PBL High School and is currently attending DePaul University in Chicago and has decided to major in Finance/ Accounting. Ghotra shared that he wanted to be a part of the Prairieland CEO program because he thought it was a great opportunity to learn how businesses start and what it takes to make them successful. When asked what his overall takeaway from the course was he stated, “I learned that if you want your business to become successful, you have to keep coming up with new and innovative ideas to lure customers or your demographic.”

Visits to local businesses, hearing from local leaders, and doing research in their chosen category are some of the ways students learn to launch their business while taking the CEO class. Recalling the most interesting presenter, Ghotra stated, “The most interesting presenter we had, in my opinion, was a real estate agent that spoke to us because she was declined by many real estate firms, but she went out of her way and made her own successful firm.” While studying at DePaul, Ghotra is also working on other business-related projects as well. PBL Education Foundation supports the Prairieland CEO program so area students can gain insight and real-life experience exploring the journey of entrepreneurship.