FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 5, 2012) – Gov. Steve Beshear today joined entrepreneurs and educators across Kentucky to announce the creation of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE). Based on the successful model of Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars and the Governor’s School for the Arts, GSE is a new initiative for high school students centered on innovation, creative thinking and entrepreneurship.
“We know that most of the net new jobs across the U.S. are being created by small, young companies,” Beshear said. “This new initiative is part of a larger, ambitious strategy to create a dynamic entrepreneurial economy in Kentucky. Building a successful 21st century economy must begin by preparing our young people to be familiar with creative thinking and design thinking. We need them to fully understand the process of creating an innovative product or service and developing a business model around it.”
Increasingly, the ideas and innovations of young people are forming the economic future of our state and nation. By developing talent early and broadly, Kentucky can dramatically enhance job creation and improve the state’s competitive position by promoting innovation and entrepreneurial skills.
GSE is an immersive, hands-on summer experience similar to the other Governor’s School programs. The inaugural program will be held in June 2013 at Georgetown College. The college, selected through a competitive process, has a reputation for innovation and broad experience in hosting successful summer programs for students. Up to 50 students will be selected for the first summer.
“Students will be selected to participate through a competitive and creative application process,” said Laurie Daugherty, director of GSE. “The characteristics of a successful entrepreneur often involve talents that are not always uncovered in traditional academic pathways.”
The GSE selection process looks for students who thrive in an imaginative and innovative environment and function well on a team. Interested students should have a passion for breakthrough ideas and making a difference in one’s school, community or in the world.
During the summer program participants will be grouped into “entrepreneurial teams.” Each team will develop and take an idea through the components of a business model – from product creation to getting the product into customers’ hands.
Students will learn about company start-up and growth, product validation and design, product development and operations, marketing and sales, investment capital and revenue models. They will also engage in and learn about the dynamics of creative thinking and innovation, and learn the value of building a team.
At the end of the summer, some teams may be ready to launch an actual company or product. In addition to the summer program, GSE will participate in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Student Technology Leadership Program.
The initial funding for the program comes in part from a $50,000 grant from the Cabinet for Economic Development, with the remainder of the expected $125,000 to $150,000 cost to come from private sources. Future years’ programs also would be funded privately.
More information about GSE is available at http://gse.kstc.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter, @gse_kstc.