EASTERN – Allen Central High School student Shawna Holbrook, a 2015 graduate of The Center for Rural Development’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) program, has earned a college scholarship offer from Eastern Kentucky University for a new product idea.
Holbrook, a sophomore, will receive a Presidential Scholarship offer (valued at $14,000 over a four-year period) to attend Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond for her team’s winning business concept at the ELI Business Concept Challenge competition.
The winning ELI team, The Casers: Safe Cell, pitched a business concept for a new cell phone product. The four-member team developed a prototype model, using 3D printing, for an antimicrobial cell phone case that repels germs.
“The Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute has taught me everything I need to know to start a business,” Holbrook said. “The program has provided a new outlook to consider when thinking about a possible career.”
Twenty high school students from 16 Southern and Eastern Kentucky counties put their business and entrepreneurial skills to work this summer crafting business concepts for three service businesses, a germ-free cell phone protective cover, and a non-profit organization that teaches patients in nursing homes and hospitals to make no-sew blankets.
“This year’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute was an exceptional testament to the talent of young people that reside in Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” said Delaney Stephens, youth programs coordinator and community liaison for The Center. “This region needs bold, innovative ideas and it was encouraging to see just that from these high school participants.”
The University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture E-Discovery program has agreed to donate $300 to each of the five ELI teams to further develop their business concepts.
The ELI program, held July 6-10 at The Center in Somerset, was presented in partnership with Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, Eastern Kentucky University, University of the Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Community and Leadership Development Department), and the Kentucky Innovation Network.
Ann DeSpain and Melony Denham, co-developers and co-teachers of E-Discovery Challenges You! program, provided the curriculum for ELI students.
The program is open to high school students within The Center’s 45-county primary service area who have an interest in building their leadership, business, and entrepreneurial skills. There is no charge to attend.
For more information on ELI and The Center’s youth leadership programs, contact youth programs coordinator Delaney Stephens at 606-677-6000, email email@example.com, or visit www.centeryouthprograms.com.