CEO is a year-long course designed to utilize partnerships that provide an overview of business development and processes.  Our local business community partners with area schools to create project-based experiences for students by providing funding, expertise, meeting space, business tours, and one-on-one mentoring. Students visit area businesses, learn from guest speakers, participate in a class business, write business plans, and start and operate their own businesses. Business concepts learned through the experiential CEO class are critical; the 21st century skills of problem-solving, teamwork, self-motivation, responsibility, higher-order thinking, communication, and inquiry are at the heart of a student’s development throughout the course.

The CEO program:

  • Is funded by business investors
  • Is open to high school juniors and seniors
  • Selects students through a rigorous application process
  • Serves students from public and private high schools
  • Meets for 90 minutes each day
  • Provides 2 high school credits
  • Utilizes area businesses as classrooms
  • Visits dozens of area businesses each year
  • Hosts 50-60 guest speakers each year
  • Emphasizes 21st century Learning skills
  • Provides the opportunity for each student to start their own business
  • Provides a mentor from the business community for each CEO student
  • Hosts an annual trade show to showcase student businesses


WHAT IS CEO? (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities)

mower county ceo

Mower County CEO Program

CEO HISTORY:  The moment that CEO became an idea.

The Learning and the Development of Life Skills is achieved through “Real Life problem solving.  The business

community aids in the problem solving by providing resources to the students, in the form of speakers, mentors and subject matter experts, and Failure has real consequences.

You can get involved in several ways:

  • Be a Business Partner Investor
  • Be a Friend of CEO: Remove Financial Obstacles
  • Be a Mentors/Presenters/Site Visits/Hosts

Click here to download a Pledge Card and mail to the Chamber office at 329 N. Main St., Suite 102, Austin, MN  55912.  For more information, contact Elaine Hansen at 507-437-4561 or


The Austin Area Chamber of Commerce 

supports our members by promoting local

commerce, advocating business perspectives
and establishing relationships for ​business

and community success.