Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Announces Innovative Entrepreneurship Project for Eastern Kentucky Schools
Project will help Develop Business Skills, Economy for Next Generation
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Gov. Steve Beshear today announced a collaborative effort between the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP) to fund a project placing entrepreneurial instruction in elementary and middle schools in 18 designated counties.
Under the auspices of the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute (KECI) obtained a grant from ARC to provide teacher instruction and curriculum for a youth entrepreneurship education program, E-Discovery Challenge, in eastern Kentucky counties.
“The opportunity for students to learn effective business skills from an early age will have a major impact on their future development as the community leaders of tomorrow,” said Gov. Beshear. “I am grateful for the immense support ARC has provided in our efforts to launch this program, and look forward to seeing the major impact it will be able to have on Eastern Kentucky not just today, but for generations to come.”
Counties where the pioneering program will be implemented include Bath, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, Lewis, Menifee, Morgan, Robertson and Wolfe in northeastern Kentucky, and Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Hart, McCreary, Monroe, Russell and Wayne in the south-central part of the state.
“KECI has provided leadership, educational, and technical resources in training individuals to encourage entrepreneurial ideas and create an entrepreneurial support system within their communities,” said Roger Thomas, GOAP executive director. “The ARC funding will compliment the contribution from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund for this youth project, benefitting Kentucky’s rural economic development.”
E-Discovery Challenge entrepreneur education was a pilot project in Ann DeSpain’s sixth grade class at St. Patrick’s School in Maysville during the 2008-2009 year. The success of this program has provided a model for the regional expansion of the E-Discovery program.
“We are pleased ARC understands the importance of entrepreneurial education for students. No matter what career path students eventually choose, if they have an understanding of how to develop a business it can not only enhance their skills, but also has the potential to impact the economy of our state,” said Melony Furby, community developer for entrepreneurship for KECI and project manager for E-Discovery Challenge. “We appreciate Gov. Beshear's support to incorporate entrepreneurship education in the classroom.”
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are an essential part of Kentucky’s economy,” said Gov. Beshear. “During these difficult economic times, programs that encourage business development—on all levels—are more important than ever. Children who learn how to start their own businesses are more likely to be involved in community growth, job creation and contribute to the economic strength of their home areas. I’m thrilled about the potential economic and social impact of this program on the region.”
ARC is a federal-state economic development program used to assist the Appalachian region through a variety of projects in the areas of public infrastructure, human resource development and business development. Kentucky’s 54 most eastern and south-central counties qualify for ARC funding. Grant applications are submitted to the Department for Local Government for review and require the Governor’s recommendation for approval before submission to ARC.