Berry's new venture is focusing on giving high school students the support and resources they need to keep their entrepreneurial spirit here in Champaign County.
Robin Henry of Junior Achievement has been working alongside Berry to establish the Entrepreneur Club of Champaign County. At the first meeting of new members, Henry said, "We are so excited to be a part of this project. It has been a need in our community for quite some time, and seeing that need being filled is extremely rewarding."
The new club's first meeting included a field trip to the newly renovated offices of Berry Digital Solutions, where members enjoyed coffee from The Spotted Owl Coffee Bar while brainstorming ideas on whiteboards throughout the space. Club members completed activities supplied by the local Junior Achievement chapter with a focus on entrepreneurship. The group ended their trip enjoying pizza from the rooftop at Urbana Brewing Company where they heard the story of how the new downtown business became a reality after years of planning.
Future meetings of the Entrepreneur Club of Champaign County hope to include more community support and stories from fellow entrepreneurs. Berry hopes the organization will grow and brainstorm future ideas to make money to support club initiatives and fund future business ideas.
"Ryan's energy around this project is what is going to keep the students engaged," said Patrick Johnson, Triad High School's Director of Academic Programs. "I didn't know what to expect at our first meeting, but I think everyone there agreed that it exceeded all of our expectations."
The new club hopes to meet once per month going forward. There are even plans for summer meetings, as well as appearances at future local events.
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