GEORGETOWN, KY – Recently it was reported that a California teen has developed a super-capacitor that could lead to a 20- to 30-second phone charge. Then there was the story of a Louisville man who created Over, a very popular iPhone app which allows people to put text over photos.
That spirit of invention is just what sponsors hope to unleash in Kentucky’s youth at the inaugural Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs summer program, hosted on the Georgetown College campus June 9-29.
Announced in December by Governor Steve Beshear, the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE) is a program that gives Kentucky high school students a hands-on opportunity to invent a product and create a business around it.
“Georgetown College is honoured to have been selected to be the host site for the first ever Governor’s School of Entrepreneurs in the Commonwealth,” said President Bill Crouch. “We are excited to have some of the most creative and energetic students in the state on our campus this summer.” Dr. Crouch added he looks forward to what they learn and develop.
Students selected for GSE will come ready to roll up their sleeves, work as a team, and create something that provides a real world solution.
GSE’s unique program brings teachers, schools, universities, graduate students, start-up technology companies, experienced entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers all together into a dynamic summer learning experience.
GSE selected students for the program by identifying those showing a passion for creating a product or idea and who possess a learning style that will thrive in a creative and innovative environment.
Limited to 50 participants, students will be grouped into small teams of no more than seven, based on their product idea or area of interest.
Each team will take an idea through the components of a business model — from product/service creation to customer engagement. Along the way, students will learn about company start-up and growth — from product development and design to production and operations to marketing, sales and revenue models. Students will engage in creative thinking and innovation, and learn the value of iteration, building a team, and leadership.
The program will include visits to area start-up companies, guest speakers, hands-on sessions with experts, field trips, and recreational activities. Teams will prepare their business models for “pitch day” when the teams will present their companies to a panel of investors. At the end, some teams may be ready to launch an actual company or product.
GSE faculty members are Raja Bhattacharya and Tom Welch.
A native of Kathmandu, Nepal, entrepreneurship is Raja’s passion and he is a successful serial entrepreneur and academician. At present, he is a faculty member with the Western Kentucky University Center for Entrepreneurship. His teaching areas of expertise lie in small business analysis and strategy, international entrepreneurship, small business management, innovation and creativity, venture financing, business planning, and social entrepreneurship.
Mr. Welch, now an independent consultant, is known around the country as an ardent revolutionary when it comes to the redesign of the learning process. Besides having taught an entrepreneurship course for high school students, he has been a high school French teacher, an English teacher, and a high school principal (East Jessamine, Nicholasville). As principal, he mandated that all administrators teach one class every day.
GSE organizers say that if Kentucky is to remain competitive in emerging economies driven by innovation, then talent must be developed early on and in a broad way. GSE aims to uncover young talent that traditional academic pathways may not draw out and hopes to stimulate and shape the next generation of leaders.
Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation (KSTC) will manage the three-week GSE program. The senior leadership team from KSTC includes Laurie Daugherty, Christine Wildes, and Liz Knapp. The GSE is patterned after the very successful Governor’s Scholars Program and the Governor’s School for the Arts.
Peter LaRue, Executive Director of Summer Program and Camps at Georgetown College, who was instrumental in securing the program, said, “It is a privilege and a pleasure for us to serve as the inaugural host site for GSE. It has been a delight to work with the KSTC team – planning and preparing this unique opportunity for these exceptional young people.”
Georgetown College was chosen for the inaugural program, selected through a competitive process, due to its reputation for innovation and broad experience in hosting successful summer programs for students, according to officials.