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For the Madison CEO initiative, Sam Uchitel from Bob Jones High School has founded a business, Out of the Box Events. In the photo, he is promoting his business at MidCity Farmers Market. CONTRIBUTED

Sam Uchitel at Bob Jones founds business for Madison CEO

MADISON – Local students are applying their innovative ideas to found businesses with the Madison Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities or Madison CEO venture.

Madison CEO originated with local business leaders creating a board of directors who promoted the program at John Paul II Catholic, Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools.

Bob Jones student Sam Uchitel describes Madison CEO as a business internship class that helps the students learn about and feel the business world. “We start out by turning $1 to $100, then we have a class business, and, to finish the class, we each have to start a personal business.”

Each student is assigned a mentor. Uchitel is working with Leigh Christian with the Catalyst Center. “Leigh helps me get connected with businesses and gives me advice,” Uchitel said. “We filled out a grant application to get money for our business. I applied for $150.”

Uchitel’s business, Out of the Box Events, focuses on community events. “I wanted to bring communities closer together while teaching citizens about their city. I also wanted to get people outside while being COVID-19 safe during a pandemic,” he said.

His events will help citizens learn about Madison landmarks and small businesses.

Students in Madison CEO do receive classroom credit, but “this class doesn’t focus on grades. It focuses on the experience,” Uchitel said.

On April 10, Uchitel is staging an event in Bob Jones south parking lot. “People will receive a task sheet and then drive around Madison to visit landmarks and small businesses. They will return to Bob Jones and turn in their task sheet. We’ll then have awards for the fastest groups,” he said.

“I’ll know I’ve been successful if I can teach citizens about their city and create events that people can enjoy while being COVID-19 safe,” Uchitel said.

Leigh Christian is a founding member of Madison CEO’s board. “I truly have a passion for entrepreneurship. Madison CEO was a perfect opportunity to work with students and see their passion for business,” she said.

“Sam is so focused. When he makes up his mind, he’s determined. Sam has worked really hard,” Christian said.

Uchitel has other ideas for other venues to stage events. “He held a test event to demonstrate and to learn how he should run his event,” Christian said.

Numerous companies are supporting Madison CEO, which is fully community-funded. “We’re always looking for more support. The program is in curriculum as a business class with Madison City Schools and JPII. We work closely with the school systems,” Christian said.

Heather Donaldson, Michael Katschke and Suzanne Katschke are program facilitators.

For more information, visit Madisonceo.com or Facebook/Madison CEO.

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