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High school students from across region arrive Sunday for The Center's 2011 ELI program

By June 10, 2011No Comments

Entrepreneurs are some of the most talented, innovative leaders in the world of business. Many begin building their business and leadership skills at a young age, and later grow their ideas into successful enterprises.

Forty-three high school students from across Southern and Eastern Kentucky will have the chance next week to learn what it takes to become a successful business leader and entrepreneur at The Center for Rural Development’s 2011 Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI).

“ELI focuses on creativity, teamwork, and the development of business skills, and encourages participants to consider starting their own business as a career option,” Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, said. “As a team, they work together to develop a business plan and present that plan to a panel of potential investors in a business concept competition on the final day of the program.”

ELI participants are set to arrive on Sunday and will quickly get to work. One of their first tasks will be to come up with a business idea that will create jobs and make an impact on their community and in the region.

During the week, participants will work in teams to write a marketing plan, prepare financial statements, and finalize their business plans.

Teams will pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges acting as financial advisors on Friday at ELI’s Business Concept Competition.

Each member of the first-place winning team will earn a Presidential Scholarship offer from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond and will be recognized at the 2011 “Decade of Distinction” Excellence in Entrepreneurial Awards (EIEA) anniversary celebration and awards program on Sept. 12 at The Center.

“The ELI program is such a rewarding experience for these students,” youth programs coordinator Lauren Hayes said. “They have the opportunity to learn how to develop a business, work on product, marketing, and financial plans and see firsthand the benefits of being an entrepreneur by meeting with local and state entrepreneurs.”

The winners of the 2011 ELI Business Concept Competition will be announced on Friday at the awards presentation and graduation ceremony, beginning at 6 p.m., in the theatre at The Center.