To view photos of Friday night’s ELI graduation program, visit The Center’s Flickr photo gallary.
A tourism-related business concept drafted by five graduates of The Center for Rural Development’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) has earned each of the students an offer of a Presidential Scholarship from Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in Richmond.
The First-Place winners of ELI’s 2011 Business Concept Competition are Cumberland Adventure team members Nathaniel Calloway, Bell County; Tim Taylor, Madison County; Katherine Wells, Johnson County; and Shelby Boyd and Faith Call, both of Pulaski County,
The students worked as a team to craft a business concept for an outdoor recreation and entertainment facility targeting 18-40 year-old adventure enthusiasts, tourists, and families in the Lake Cumberland area.
According to the winning team,Cumberland Adventure is the first tourism-related business of its kind in the region to offer ropes courses, zip lines, boat rentals, and other outdoor adventure-related activities.
The team was announced as the overall winner in this year’s ELI Business Concept Competition on June 17 at a graduation program attended by family members and friends at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.
A total of 40 high school students from across Southern and Eastern Kentucky—the largest class in the history of the program—graduated from 2011 Class of ELI after attended a week-long session at The Center, where they worked on building their business and entrepreneurial skills.
The week culminated with the program’s Business Concept Competition, in which eight ELI student teams pitched their plans to a panel of regional business leaders. The teams delivered eight-minute presentations to the judges, who portrayed business lenders.
“The Cumberland Adventure ELI team and other team members presented original, creative business concepts that could easily be marketed in our region and other parts of the state,” Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center and one of the ELI Business Concept Competition judges, said. “Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the region’s economy, and based on the talents shown by these budding business leaders and entrepreneurs, our region’s future will be in capable hands.”
Additional business concepts proposed by ELI teams included:
- Skill Swap, a new concept in business designed to encourage bartering between companies in Kentucky, was declared by the panel of judges to be the Runner-Up in the Business Concept Competition.
Team members included Will Lange and Brittany Pitman, Pulaski County; Cameron Warren, Knox County; Evan Brown, Monroe County; and Danielle Hachey, Russell County.
- Doctor Watch, a diabetes monitor to help diabetics keep up with their blood levels through online technology, was recognized by the judges as the Most Innovative Business Concept.
Team members included Zach Frederich, Bell County; Hannah Isaacs, Pulaski County; Marissa Alley, Clay County; Chase Smith, Letcher County; and Haley Johnson, Monroe County.
- Pulaski County Indoor, an athletic complex that provides opportunities for individuals to participate in sports all year long.
Team members included Ashley Johnson, Pulaski County; Matthew Bertram, Wayne County; Lamon Hubbs, Clinton County; Alexander Phipps, Knox County; and Mollie Williams, Taylor County.
- Total Care, a one-stop facility for all medical health needs, including offices for a general physician, dentist, pediatrician, allergist, and a pharmacy.
Team members included Patrick Toy, Bath County; Daniel Bertram and Abi Perkins, both of Wayne County; Matt Barber, Johnson County; and Lexie Parks of Pulaski County.
- Autism Independent Development Program, a service for children and parents with autism. In this program, children will work with a behavioral analyst intern through in-home services.
Team members included Madison Hatfield, Pulaski County; Zach Horton, Bath County; Megan Daniels, Whitley County; Ryan Steele, Morgan County; and Josyln Isaacs of Floyd County.
- EcoHome, a mission to build environmentally friendly homes targeting homeowners interested in cutting their costs in water and electrical bills.
Team members included Justus Wesloh, Bell County; Katelyn McMahan, Taylor County; Shelby Harville, Pulaski County; Jared Lake, Rockcastle County; and Allison Thompson of Monroe County.
- Lake Cumberland Family Fitness, an organization that promotes indoor and outdoor activities to help individuals with personalized fitness plans.
Team members included MaKayla Maynard, Johnson County; McKayla Jones, Casey County; Blake Morris and Anand Prabhu, both of Pulaski County; and Caleb Wigginton of Taylor County.
“It is truly an honor to see how much these students learned and were able to apply during the week,” Lauren Hayes, youth programs coordinator for The Center, said. “They came here to learn business fundamentals, but came away with life-long business skills and more importantly how to communicate with their peers. This was such a rewarding week for all involved.”
Members of the first-place team will be recognized at the “Decade of Distinction” Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards (EIEA) 10th anniversary celebration and awards luncheon to be held Sept. 12 at The Center, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (at Traffic Light 15) in Somerset.
High school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors within The Center’s 42-county service area are eligible to apply for ELI. For more information on the program, contact Lauren Hayes at 606-677-6000 or via email.