FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs, a residential summer program where Kentucky teens focus on product innovation and business model design, is taking applications for its summer 2022 program at www.KentuckyGSE.com for students currently in grades 9-11. The program will take place at Northern Kentucky University in two separate sessions: June 12-July 2 and July 10-30.
Applications are due by Jan. 24, and selections will be announced in April. Students who attend GSE can earn high school class credits, scholarships to Kentucky colleges and universities, and receive access to the tools necessary to start their own businesses.
GSE is a relative newcomer on the list of Kentucky Governor’s Schools, having opened to its first group of teen entrepreneurs in 2013. GSE brings students from across the state into a three-week residential program, immerses them in a creative space and equips them with the tools needed to unleash their innate entrepreneurial spirits for the betterment of Kentucky. During the program, teams of high school students develop a business model, design a prototype and pitch their startup to a large audience and a panel of judges. GSE teaches the opportunities, benefits and pitfalls of taking a business concept from the idea phase to pitching it to potential investors.
“I encourage Kentucky high school students who want to learn how to develop a business idea or service into a prototype and then pitch it to a panel of judges to apply for the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs. You will learn from successful entrepreneurs, work with other students who want to be entrepreneurs and learn how to start your own business,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “I’m proud to say several GSE alumni have started businesses and filed patents since the program began.”
While all participants gain vital entrepreneurial skills through the program to use as they enter the workplace or continue into higher education, more than 20 new businesses already have been launched by GSE alumni. Others have filed for multiple patents and developed new ideas and relationships that sow the seeds for more business formation. Dozens of alumni have chosen to enroll in entrepreneurial programs at Kentucky universities and attribute this decision to the inspiration they received attending GSE in high school.
“We are ecstatic about the future of entrepreneurship in Kentucky,” said Tasha Sams, executive director of GSE. “GSE is where entrepreneurship begins for talented Kentucky teens. They are Kentucky’s future business creators. We provide the support teens need to go from high schooler to business owner – for free. Apply to GSE for the entrepreneurial experience of a lifetime.”
While building a startup, students will tour numerous businesses, and learn from a broad range of successful and active entrepreneurs. Students create fully realized business materials and prototypes, and confidently deliver sophisticated pitches by the end of the program. Businesses from across the state welcome the young entrepreneurs and share trials, tribulations and successes in candid conversations, while allowing unparalleled access to the inner workings of their businesses. The challenging program encourages risk taking and addresses failure as a positive lesson on the path to success.
Entrepreneurs leave the program with the real-world tools to start a business and a network of contacts from around the state, which includes other students, entrepreneurs and community stakeholders.
Parents, educators, entrepreneurs and teens who believe grit, a growth mindset and creativity in problem-solving tell as much about a young person as good grades and test scores, can learn more about the Governor’s School of Entrepreneurs at www.KentuckyGSE.com.
Because of strong partnerships with entities like the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, the Cabinet for Economic Development, TMMK, and numerous public and private supporters, like the Marksbury Family Foundation, and Nate Morris of Rubicon Global, GSE is completely free for selected entrepreneurs. Alumni of GSE gain access to a host of scholarship opportunities, high school class credit, and a statewide network of entrepreneurial support.