Harlan County High School student Chelsey Caldwell learned what it takes to start and manage a successful business venture this summer at The Center for Rural Development’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI).
Caldwell, a member of the ELI “Bead”Les Charms for Contribution team, developed a business plan for a jewelry line to support charities. A portion of the proceeds sold from a ribbon-shaped charm would go to support the American Cancer Society.
“This experience has meant a lot to me, because I’ve learned the importance of working as a team,” Caldwell said. “I’ve also developed by entrepreneurial skills by learning how to start a business, beginning with a plan.”
Twenty-two high school students from 17 southern and eastern Kentucky counties worked in teams to create business concepts for three new product ideas, a tourism-related business, and a service industry.
“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.”
Caldwell is the daughter of Allyson and George Caldwell, of Wallins.
ELI 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 protected], or visit www.centeryouthprograms.com.
Established in 1996 through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05), and other leaders, The Center for Rural Development is a nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. In its 45-county primary service region, The Center provides innovative programs in leadership, public safety, technology, and arts and culture. The Center is committed to constantly expanding its capabilities in order to deliver a range of key services throughout Kentucky and the nation.