A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Applications now open for next summer’s Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs to be held at NKU

The next session of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE) will take place June 23 through July 13, 2019 at Northern Kentucky University.

Students currently in 9th, 10th and 11th grade can apply at www.KentuckyGSE.com.  

Applications are due by Jan. 20, 2019 and selections will be announced in April 2019. 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.

The Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs 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. Several GSE alums subsequently launched their own small businesses in Kentucky.

“The interest in the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs program has never been stronger, which provides a vital opportunity to reach the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Brian Mefford, KY Innovation’s executive director. “GSE’s efforts will become even more vital as KY Innovation works to align all of Kentucky’s entrepreneurship and innovation stakeholders, optimize resources and provide relevant points of engagement statewide.”

“Entrepreneurship has been the engine of America’s economy since its founding, and GSE participants are its future,” said Natasha Sams, GSE’s director. “The spark of entrepreneurship is in each of us. At GSE, we ignite that spark, cultivate the mindset and propagate the next generation of entrepreneurship in Kentucky. Successful entrepreneurs must be determined and disciplined, confident and competitive and unafraid of failure. We give them the support and tools they need to go from a high school student to a business owner.”

Photos from last year’s class

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 not only the real world tools to start a business but a network of contacts from around the state, which includes other students, entrepreneurs and community stakeholders.

GSE seeks the innovative thinkers, the collaborators, the students with a drive that is undeniable. They are Kentucky’s future business creators.  

Parents, students and entrepreneurs who believe grit, hard work and imagination tell as much about a young person as good grades, can learn more about the Governor’s School of Entrepreneurs at www.KentuckyGSE.com.

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