Marshall University to host West Virginia Governor’s School of Entrepreneurship this summer

West Virginia students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades interested in exploring entrepreneurship as a career option can begin by applying to the West Virginia Governor’s School of Entrepreneurship (WVGSE), a no-cost program for eligible students. Marshall University, through the faculty and staff of its Elizabeth McDowell Lewis College of Business, will host WVGSE for the third consecutive year.


By design, WVGSE is an immersive three-week residential experience in which students develop a business model, build prototypes and engage potential customers to test assumptions. From June 18 through July 8, teenagers from across the state of West Virginia will live and work on the Huntington campus of Marshall University. During this three-week residency, students will engage in creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and calculated risk-taking in pursuit of solving a difficult problem. Along this journey, students will develop lifelong friendships, experience personal growth and development, and become problem centered and customer focused. WVGSE aims to empower students to achieve self actualization, develop leadership skills, and create and deliver real value to customers.


Building on the previous years, the theme for WVGSE 2023 is IMPACT: innovating on a meaningful problem using purpose and a positive attitude to impact community through teamwork. Through the curriculum, hands-on activities, and general best practices directed by faculty and coaches, WVGSE promotes a growth mindset and engagement in experimentation for quick learning opportunities.

In the buildup to students’ final pitches, the student-groups get the invaluable experience of demonstrating for and interacting with potential customers via a “Pop-Up” shop model. In cooperation with the Huntington Mall, students will have retail mobile units that are placed in the center of the complex to take advantage of patron foot traffic. During the course of two days, students will interact with 40-100 different potential customers. Through these interactions, students will get information regarding the importance of the problem, interest in the proposed product/service solution, and the potential for revenue and business model validation.

At the conclusion of the WVGSE experience, students will pitch their new venture concepts at “Demo Day” before a panel of judges, bringing together lessons from inside and outside the classroom. Students will use the best practices of other entrepreneurial ecosystems with particular focus on design thinking for problem identification, customer development, and rapid prototyping and testing for valuable feedback.

“Being a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of hard work and effort,” said Olen York, WVGSE 2022 dean and director of entrepreneurship education at Marshall University’s Lewis College of Business. “Entrepreneurship is not for the passive. As such, WVGSE’s Demo Day is an opportunity for students to demonstrate the fruits of their hard work and effort as budding entrepreneurs. By a Shark Tank-styled pitch, students will get to explain their journey, their lessons learned and their decision making. At the end of the program, students leave with new and improved tools to use in their professional development that can be applied in almost any context.”

The application deadline is March 15, 2023. Please begin the application process as soon as possible to avoid any delays.

Students and parents interested in more information about WVGSE 2023 should visit:

Students interested in immediately applying for WVGSE 2023 should visit:



WHAT:           West Virginia Governor’s School of Entrepreneurship

WHEN:           Sunday, June 18, through Saturday, July 8, 2023

WHERE:         Marshall University (Lewis College of Business)
One John Marshall Drive | Huntington, WV | 25755
c/o Olen York (

WHO:             Rising 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students that both reside in
West Virginia and attend a West Virginia high school
may apply until March 15, 2023.