A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs applications now being accepted for NKU’s summer 2020 program


The Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE), a residential summer program in which 72 Kentucky teens focus on product innovation and business model design, has opened applications for its summer 2020 program.

The 2020 GSE session will take place June 7 through June 27 at Northern Kentucky University.

The Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs brings students from across the state into a three-week residential program. The program immerses students in a creative space and equips them with the tools needed to unleash their innate entrepreneurial spirits for the betterment of Kentucky.

As part of 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.

“Calling all tinkerers, innovators, inventors, creatives, and builders. The Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs is a unique, life-changing opportunity to find out what it takes to be an entrepreneur,” said GSE Chairman Koleman Karleski. “It is our vision that the next generation of game-changing Kentucky entrepreneurs, like the late David Jones Sr., founder of Humana, will emerge from this important program. Will it be you, or your child or student?”

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.

GSE students are Kentucky’s future business creators. 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 students who are innovative thinkers and collaborators with a drive that is undeniable.

“GSE is a life changing experience,” said GSE Executive Director Natasha Sams. “We know that when our entrepreneurs leave the program, they are ready to launch a business. In fact, several have. We want to invest in the entrepreneurial journey of Kentucky teens. This upcoming summer will be the entrepreneurial experience of a lifetime — and we absolutely cannot wait.”

Photos from this year’s class.


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. Students currently in ninth, 10th and 11th grade are eligible to apply.

Applications are due by Jan. 20, and selections will be announced in April 2020. 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.

Due to strong partnerships with entities like the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Cabinet for Economic Development, TMMK, and numerous public and private supporters, like the Marksbury Family Foundation and the Parker Family Fund, GSE is offered at no cost for selected entrepreneurs.

Alums of GSE gain access to a host of scholarship opportunities, high school class credit, and a statewide network of entrepreneurial support. Several GSE alums subsequently launched their own small businesses in Kentucky.

To learn more about the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs, visit www.KentuckyGSE.com or contact Natasha Sams via email at tasha@keenstart.org or call (606) 389-0290.

From Education & Workforce Development Cabinet


Related Posts

Leave a Comment