Demonstrating the commitment to foster entrepreneurship in the state, West Virginia University announced earlier this year that the University had won a two-year bid to host the Governor’s School of Entrepreneurship in 2017 and 2018 after submitting a proposal to host the summer event for students entering their sophomore, junior and senior years of high school.
Applications are now being accepted for GSE, which will run from July 5-25. Application materials, including a 60-second video pitch, are due by April 15. High school students in West Virginia who are accepted into the program will receive a full scholarship for room, board and tuition for the three-week program.
Entrepreneurial and economic experts across the WVU campus will serve as administration, faculty members and guest lecturers for the summer program to educate promising young entrepreneurs about the state’s entrepreneurial landscape and how to really hone and implement their innovative ideas.
Julia Bolt, assistant director of the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is housed in the WVU College of Business and Economics, will serve as the dean of the GSE. Faculty members will include Elizabeth Vitullo, a WVU IDEA Faculty Fellow and assistant dean of graduate programs at B&E, and Carrie White, director of the WVU LaunchLab.
“We are beyond excited to host the Governor’s School of Entrepreneurship. We have a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem here at WVU by working collaboratively across campus with several different industry experts ranging from the College of Business and Economics and WVU LaunchLab, and from the Health Sciences Center to the School of Public Health,” Bolt said. “These high school students will stay in campus dorms and also have access to other resources like the Student Rec Center, the ropes course and more across campus, giving them a very holistic WVU experience.”
To help students fully develop their ideas, there will also be five WVU student or recent graduate interns and three to four business coaches assisting with the program.
The 21-day residential summer program will provide educational experience to 60 rising high school students, helping them understand the commitment for developing a startup company and sustaining it through sound business practices and beyond.
“This immersive program will expose these students to several different aspects of entrepreneurship – not just small business development. This is a fun, hands-on learning experience and truly demonstrates WVU’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and economic development in the state,” White said. “The curriculum will include a sustainability component, competitions and prototype development. Each aspect will give the young innovators the tools and resources to become entrepreneurs.”
GSE is provided through the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts and offers an intensive academic and social experience for its students. The program is designed to create a supportive environment that offers opportunity for continuous interaction of students, faculty and staff.
The three-week school will include workshops, activities, recreation and a competition at the end of the program in which the young entrepreneurs will develop, pitch and actually launch a new business venture within one of four categories — healthcare, hospitality and tourism, technology or creative economies (social impact). All GSE students will also have the opportunity to earn three hours of college credit.
“Students will identify opportunities in the entrepreneurial areas the state of West Virginia already has strengths in, but from a much different viewpoint. These young and creative minds already have the ideas, dreams and visions,” Vitullo said. “Throughout the whole experience, students will move barriers — proving they can turn those dreams into viable businesses and have a vital impact on their communities and the state.”