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Saluki CEO Corps offers practical experience

September 03, 2009, Christi Mathis

Today’s student at Southern Illinois University could well be the next Donald Trump or Ted Turner.

An SIU registered student organization may just be the stepping-stone to make it happen. At the minimum, participation in the Saluki CEO Corps will prove to be a beneficial life experience, organizers say.

The RSO, open to any SIU student interested in entrepreneurship, drew about 40 members when launched last year. Members don’t have to be a business major and both undergraduate and graduate students are welcome.

“The Saluki CEO Corps is a chance for students to get hands-on experience in the world of business,” said Maryon King, director of the Center for Innovation and associate professor of marketing in the College of Business.

The group’s objective is “to inform, support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and seek opportunity through enterprise creation,” according to King. Alliances with the Center for Innovation, the Illinois Small Business Development Center and the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center make it happen.

“Our slogan is ‘Learn One Do One Start One,’” King said. “The whole point of this is giving students an opportunity to participate in hands-on educational experiences.”

King said if students complete all four learning modules, write a business plan and present a sales pitch, they could become certified consultants. That means they can work with business clients, assisting them through the entrepreneurship network at SIU. That’s hands-on work to help real clients as they explore opportunities to start or expand businesses in the Southern Illinois region.

And that’s not all. King and Jenni Janssen, assistant director of the Center for Innovation, said it’s possible that students can earn class credit for their work while it also enhances their opportunities for undergraduate or graduate assistantships. King and Janssen said the experience students acquire through the program, whether they utilize it in their vocation choice or not, could prove invaluable no matter what career path they choose.

While enhancing their business and communication skills, Saluki CEO Corps members enjoy extraordinary networking experiences with students of all majors and global access to entrepreneurship networks, King said.

The fall 2009 event schedule for Saluki CEO Corps kicks off with the RSO Fair Thursday evening, Aug. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Student Center. It’s a chance to learn more about the group. There’s also a kick-off dinner Tuesday, Sept. 1, 5-6:30 p.m. at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center located at 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road. The Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center at SIU is hosting the event and Greg Cook, owner of Cook Portable Warehouses, is the guest speaker.

Corps members will participate in a welcome back event at the College of Business Sept. 3 and in a variety of workshops and training sessions throughout the semester. They’ll enjoy guest speakers and a wine trail outing, too.

Saluki CEO Corps members will also be attending, for the second time, the annual National CEO (Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization) Conference. This year’s event is set for Oct. 22-24 in Chicago.

For more information about Saluki CEO Corps, look online at http://rso.business.siu.edu/salukiceo or call 618/453-7788. You can also e-mail salukiceo@business.siu.edu or check the group out on Facebook.