Garrard County High School students Kyrin Norris and Kennedy Bruner graduate from The Center for Rural Development’s 2019 Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) program
Garrard County High School students Kyrin Norris and Kennedy Bruner put their business skills to work this summer at The Center for Rural Development’s 2019 Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI).
Norris and Bruner were among 25 high school students from 19 Kentucky counties to attend ELI, a summer youth leadership program for aspiring student entrepreneurs, held July 22-26 at The Center in Somerset.
ELI is an intensive week-long program focused on developing creativity, teamwork, and business and leadership skills. Students work together in business teams to develop a written business concept for a new business venture or product idea.
Shelton Ansley of Kentucky Highlands Investments Corp. taught the curriculum for this year’s program and helped students prepare to present their business plans before a panel of judges at the ELI Business Concept Challenge Competition.
Norris, a member of the ELI business team, “Econition,” won the competition and earned a $16,000 Provost scholarship offer from Eastern Kentucky University.
Members of Team Econition “Protecting the Environment, One Shot at a Time” pitched a product idea for a new biodegradable shotgun shell with the same effectiveness of traditional ammunition, but is environmentally friendly, cheaper, and requires no cleanup.
Bruner’s ELI business team, “CH Packaging,” presented a business idea for an eco-friendly packaging company that uses biodegradable corn husks to package produce.
“This year’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) was an exceptional testament to the talents of our youth and the region’s next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center for Rural Development. “We need bold, innovative ideas to grow the economy of Southern and Eastern Kentucky. It was encouraging to see these students come up with ideas to make our region more eco-friendly and address some of the challenges they see as growing problems in rural Kentucky.”
Norris is the daughter of Chastity Norris and Jamaine Norris of Lancaster. Bruner is the daughter of Alice and Jeremy Bruner of Lancaster.
ELI is presented by The Center for Rural Development in partnership with Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. and Eastern Kentucky University.
Business sponsors of the 2019 ELI program were the Courtyard by Marriott Somerset, Team Modern, Mellow Mushroom, Honey Baked Ham, Buffalo Wings and Rings, Sassy Spoon Catering, Fazolis, Ruckel’s, Donatos, Karen’s Catering, and Baxter’s Coffee.
Special appreciation goes to Amon’s Bakery and Doug Stephens, Somerset Community College and Eric Woolridge, Somerset Hardwood Flooring and Steve Merrick, the Pulaski County Recycling Center and Danny Masten, and Eastern Kentucky Pride Cathy Lennox and Cindy Lackey for helping with the ELI program.
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.