Sprocket, Inc. will host student participants in the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurship (GSE) July 14th through August 1st 2020. The event, normally a three-week residential experience held at Northern Kentucky University, announced it would go virtual due to COVID-19 in May.“While it would be great for these kids to have the normal GSE experience, they instead are learning early what it’s like to pivot and make a new plan in the midst of challenging times,” said Sprocket Director, Suzanne Clinton. “That’s often what being an entrepreneur is all about. We’re just happy we can at least give these creative young people a unique space in which to work, albeit in a socially distant way.”
The GSE program allows teens working in teams to take idea and utilize STEAM and enterprise skills to create a service or product. The groups build a feasible business model around the concept and the program culminates with “Demo Day” when they pitch their business ideas to a live audience and panel of judges.
“We are going to push the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to translating GSE into a virtual experience,” said Natasha Sams, GSE 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.
GSE participants gain vital entrepreneurial skills through the program to use as they enter the workplace or continue into higher education. A total of 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.
“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 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.”