Home » Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs pivots with virtual program

Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs pivots with virtual program

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE), a highly competitive summer program where 72 Kentucky high school students focus on product innovation and business model design, announced Wednesday that due to public safety guidelines related to COVID-19, its 2020 summer experience will be a virtual one.

The program will be held during its previously announced dates of July 12 – Aug. 1, 2020.

“We’re living through highly unusual times, but like any strong, resilient organization we see this as both an opportunity and a welcomed challenge,” said Koleman Karleski, GSE board chair. “If there were ever a program designed to adapt to change through innovation, it is the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs.”

“We are going to push the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to translating GSE into a virtual experience,” said Natasha Sams, executive director. “We are collaborating with our statewide partners and our entrepreneurs will be working remotely from Paducah to Pikeville this summer. It’s going to be a really unique experience for all, and an example of the power of collaboration.”

Since 2013, GSE has given over 400 talented teens the entrepreneurial experience of a lifetime. GSE brings students from across the state together for a three-week program 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 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.

“We at the Cabinet for Economic Development are excited that KEENStart and the GSE team has found a creative solution to be able to continue the GSE program in these unique times,” said Anthony Ellis, the acting executive director of KY Innovation, which oversees the commonwealth’s entrepreneurial and small business efforts. “While there are definitely benefits to the in-person program, the virtual program is timely for GSE, as we have seen a substantial increase in the use of remote jobs and virtual workstations in the start-up community even before COVID-19. KY Innovation looks forward to seeing what new insights this year’s class will uncover in this new and changing world.”

While all participants gain vital entrepreneurial skills through the program to use as they enter the workplace or continue into higher education, 10 new businesses have already been launched by young GSE entrepreneurs. Others have filed for multiple patents and developed new ideas and relationships that sow the seeds for more business formation. Now, more than ever, young entrepreneurs are needed to help sustain and rebuild Kentucky’s economy.

GSE provides the support these teens need to go from high schoolers to business owners.

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 Workforce and Education Development Cabinet, the Cabinet for Economic Development, and numerous public and private supporters, like Toyota (TMMK), The Marksbury Family Foundation and The Parker Family Fund, GSE is completely free for selected entrepreneurs. Alumni of GSE gain access to a host of scholarship opportunities, totaling more than $2.7 million each year, to colleges and universities in Kentucky.