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Northern Kentucky University to host the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs in two summer sessions

Northern Kentucky Univerity will once again serve as the site for the Governor’s School for Entreprenuers — and this year will offer two sessions to accommodate the 144 students from 63 counties accepted into the competitive summer program.

Kentucky high school students will focus on product innovation and business model design.

The first GSE session will be held June 12 to July 2, and the second session will be held July 10 to 30.

Northern Kentucky University (NKU) has served as host of GSE since 2019 and is planning for an in-person program.

“This fun and challenging college residential program will unleash the students’ innate entrepreneurial talents and give them opportunities to create their own businesses,” said Governor Andy Beshear. “It also encourages a new generation of entrepreneurs who are needed to make Kentucky competitive now and into the future.”

Hundreds of high school students applied to be part of the GSE experience with participants selected through a competitive process that does not consider GPA or test scores. The application is structured to identify creative problem-solvers who want to roll up their sleeves and dive headfirst into creating meaningful and viable solutions through product innovation and business model design. The GSE experience is free for all participants.

“GSE is an anchor in our entrepreneurial landscape, uniquely known for developing and enabling the entrepreneurs of Kentucky’s future. As we look forward to GSE this summer, we also reflect upon the impressive impact of the GSE experience. Our entrepreneurs are starting businesses, filing patents and choosing to continue their entrepreneurial journey at Kentucky’s colleges and universities,” says Tasha Sams, executive director of GSE. “We cannot wait to meet the talented Class of 2022, our largest class to date, and we are excited for them to participate in what we know will be the entrepreneurial experience of a lifetime.”

In 2021, due to the ever-increasing demand for the GSE experience, a second summer session was added to accommodate a total of 120 high school students. This year’s two cohorts will double the program size for a total of 144 students, up from 72 just two years ago.


Opening to its first group of students in 2013, GSE is a relative newcomer on the list of Kentucky’s Governor’s Schools. Students are taught the opportunities, benefits, and pitfalls of taking a business concept from the idea phase to pitching it to potential investors. During the program, teams of students develop a business model, design a prototype and pitch their startups to a panel of judges.

“The Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs enrolls highly motivated and talented teens from across the Commonwealth, and I’m proud NKU will have a role in exposing these students to the entrepreneurial way of thinking,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya.

While all participants gain vital entrepreneurial skills through the program to use as they enter the workplace or continue into higher education, more than 30 new businesses have been launched by GSE alumni since it started. Others have filed for multiple patents and developed new ideas and relationships that sow the seeds for more business formation.

Dozens of alumni have chosen to enroll in entrepreneurial programs at Kentucky universities and attribute this decision to the inspiration they received by attending GSE in high school. Through partnerships with collegiate partners, GSE provides more than $5 million in scholarship funding opportunities to Kentucky high school students each year. GSE fosters and empowers the commonwealth’s future business owners and community leaders, giving these teens the support they need to go from high school students to business owners.

Starting a new business. . .

Because of strong partnerships with entities including the Kentucky Education Workforce Development Cabinet, Labor Cabinet, the Cabinet for Economic Development, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK), Brown-Forman Corp., Duke Energy, and numerous public and private supporters such as the Marksbury Family Foundation and Nate Morris of Rubicon Global, GSE is completely free for selected entrepreneurs.

Alumni of GSE gain access to a host of scholarship opportunities, high school class credit, and a statewide network of lifelong entrepreneurial support. Since 2013, more than 600 student entrepreneurs have received scholarship funding through the program.

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.

See the complete list of accepted students as well as waitlisted students here.

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