CEO student Ben Andersen is working on a book to teach children sign language.

CEO student Ben Andersen is working on a book to teach children sign language. Photo by John F. Russell. |

Young entrepreneurs: Ben Andersen, children's sign language book

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A group of 15 Routt County high school students has spent the school year developing individual business plans as part of the new Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunity, or CEO, class.

The class is funded through donations and pledges from local businesses and aims to encourage high school students to consider entrepreneurial opportunities within their own hometowns, rather than moving away to find career success.

Following is a look at some of the plans students have dreamed up as part of the class. All the student business plans will be presented at a trade show from 5 to 7 p.m. May 19 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Ben Andersen, 17, Steamboat Springs High School

What is your business plan?

I am writing a book that parents can use to teach their children sign language. This will be a basic sign book that has some beginner words that will be easy for children to learn.

What inspired the idea?

I was inspired by this idea, because, for the past two years, I have taken the sign language class at Colorado Mountain College. The first year I started, I instantly found a passion for the language and further educated myself on the topic. Now that I have done this for two years, I thought it would be amazing to share some of the information I learned with others.

How would you describe the need for this business, and why should people support it?

Many parents want a way to communicate with their young children before the child can verbally communicate. This book that I am writing gives a start to these parents so they have a basic understanding of sign language. People should support this business, because it is a way to educate the next generation and a way for parents to have better communication with their children before the child can speak.

What has been/will be your biggest obstacle for getting this idea off the ground?

My biggest obstacle with getting my business off the ground is finding a way to illustrate my book and how to get it officially published.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned as part of the CEO class?

I have learned how to be a respectable and presentable business person in the first five seconds of a meeting. I find this interesting, because you never get a second chance at a first impression.

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