Illinois bank invests in high school entrepreneurs

A panel of judges listens to “Shark Tank” pitches presented by high school students in Quincy, Ill.

Peoples Prosperity Bank, Springfield, Ill., offered high school entrepreneurs a “Shark Tank” experience, complete with start-up cash for the top three business pitches.

Three teams of Mr. Justin Sievert’s economics students presented their plans to a panel of community experts on Oct. 23, and were each awarded $250.

As part of the high school’s effort to offer competency and experiential-based learning, Quincy High School, Quincy, Ill., partnered with the bank to expand its Peoples Prosperity Bank Financial Scholars Program, etching real-world entrepreneurship into the grade-scale.

“At Peoples Prosperity Bank, our mission is to empower the financial well-being of our community one person at a time,” said Jana Hattey, community bank president of the $808 million bank. “As a community bank, we believe in bringing financial education to our students and being an advocate and trusted partner for small businesses.”

Hattey complemented Sievert’s economics curriculum with a presentation on effective methods of creating business plans, as well as how to secure an appropriate loan package for the proposed businesses.

The judging panel included the Quincy City Treasurer Linda Moore, Community COllege Dean of Business Services John Wood, Quincy Chamber of Commerce Board President Will Duryea, and Peoples Prosperity Bank Vice President of Commercial Lending Kelly Stupasky. 

“We are very proud to partner with Principal Steinke and Mr. Seivert and to have an unbelievable panel dedicated to financial education and success in our community,” Hattey said.