Marshall University will host the inaugural Governor’s School of Entrepreneurship (GSE) for West Virginia high school students July 5-26 on the Huntington campus.
The GSE is a three-week educational session geared toward students enrolled in the ninth through 11th grades. Sixty students from across the state are set to participate alongside international students from China, according to Dr. Jonathan Butler, director of Marshall’s entrepreneurship program.
“We want to give these students the chance to expand their thinking, not just about building small businesses and supporting local economies, but about global opportunities as well,” Butler said. “This is an amazing partnership between Marshall University’s Lewis College of Business and the Department of Education and the Arts and we look forward to creating a fantastic atmosphere for both our regional and international students.”
Butler said participants will be divided into teams of six and will learn about business models and basic concepts of entrepreneurship. He said each team would be tasked with developing a business plan, which they will pitch to a panel of investors during their second week.
“We have $15,000 available for all teams to create their business. This is like ‘Shark Tank’ – each team will be funded in different amounts depending on their ideas,” Butler said. “Teams have to compete based on revenues and after two weeks, they will create their businesses. At the very end of the program, we have partnered with City of Huntington to host the West Virginia MADE Festival where we will take over several empty buildings and have students set up shop and sell their products or services.”
The West Virginia MADE Festival will take place July 22-24 in downtown Huntington with live music, dancing, a food truck rally and several shops featuring West Virginia’s newest crop of entrepreneurship products and services. The event is free and open to the public.
Note: A schedule for the event is available at http://www.marshall.edu/ucomm/files/web/GovSchoolofEntrepreneurshipSchedule_2016.pdf.