Over the past few weeks, our dedicated Chamber team and I have had the privilege of working closely with the bright young minds in our community as part of our Jr. CEO Program. Our goal? To equip these budding entrepreneurs with foundational business skills and inspire them to embark on their entrepreneurship journey! At the Chamber, we firmly believe in sharing knowledge that paves the way for our kids’ future success, ensuring they have the tools they need to chase their dreams and become the future leaders of our community. In a short while, their hard work will come to fruition as they launch their first businesses later this month.

But before we dive into the exciting details, let me provide a brief overview of what the Jr. CEO Program entails. This six-week digital course is geared toward youth aged 6-16 and is designed to help grow their entrepreneurial spirit. It covers five vital categories: Business Fundamentals, Cost Models, Safety & Food Prep, Marketing & Customer Service, and Money Management. Each session was guided by myself and featured insights from a local business leader as a guest speaker. All of this was made accessible to our community’s youth at a remarkably affordable rate of $25 per student or $40 per family.

The moment we’ve all been eagerly awaiting is nearly here – Business Day! Our talented students have poured their hearts into developing their businesses; we couldn’t be prouder. We invite you and our entire community to join us at Sunken Gardens on March 24 for Business Day! Come out from 11 am to 2 pm, show your support, explore their creations, and shop around. Let these young entrepreneurs know they’re doing a fantastic job. They’re the future of our community!

Before I wrap up, I want to extend heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has made this program a reality. From the parents who trusted the program and enrolled their children to the businesses that graciously shared their expertise as guest speakers and the unwavering support of our incredible community that shared about the program with everyone they knew, you’ve all been instrumental in our success. A special thank you goes out to our local business sponsors who helped make this program possible: Better Business Bureau, Carmel & Naccasha LLP Attorneys At Law, Gannage Design & Construction, Kiwanis Club of Atascadero, RA Architects & Engineers, and the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. Together, we’ve created a program that empowers our youth.

-Josh Cross, Atascadero Chamber CEO