- Governor Hampton said she wants to reach the “back of the row” students that may not be getting the recognition for their creativity and their talent
- Hampton said the LGEC is something that will continue to benefit Kentucky’s future workforce because the students that participate have the opportunity to build more work-ready skills
By Jacob Perkins
If you have ever seen the show Shark Tank, then you have an idea of what the finals of the third annual Lieutenant Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge (LGEC) was like.
Northern Kentucky University hosted the 2019 LGEC on April 12. Students from throughout the state gathered to present their projects and ideas to various business professionals, and of course, Kentucky’s Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton.
David Horseman, associate commissioner for the Office of Career and Technical Education and Student Transition for the Kentucky Department of Education, said that the LGEC provides students the opportunity to develop necessary skills.
”The Lt. Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge is a great example of work-based learning,” Horseman said. “Taking an idea, creating and implementing a business plan is central to developing essential workplace skills.”
One team that made it to the finals was LockBox, which consisted of Ethan Gilliam and Colin Mooney, both students from South Warren High School (Warren County). The team designed a box that would secure packages from being stolen from a porch by porch pirates.
“Our business plan was to design a product that would be convenient on both ends of the spectrum, whether you’re the delivery driver … or the homeowner,” Mooney said.” There are roughly 25 million porch piracy thefts a year, which is a really big number. We were looking for a solution that would solve that problem, or at least reduce the rate at which it was occurring.”
LockBox didn’t create this product just for the LGEC. They already have heard from business professionals in their area that are interested in investing in them.
“We have presented to an equity investor in Bowling Green and he said that he is very interested,” Gilliam said. “He said that if we went to the market with this, then he would invest.
The team already has a provisional patent for their design and have applied for a permanent patent, which is pending.
Hampton said she wants to reach the “back of the row” students that may not be getting the recognition for their creativity and their talent.
Hampton said she already has seen the benefits of the challenge in the students that participate.
“Working in teams, taking on new topics, rising to the challenge, learning to deal with failures and going back to the drawing board if you have to,” Hampton said. “Just for the students to look outward and around them and seeing what’s out there in the world and what challenges haven’t been solved.
“Because we tend to think that there’s nothing new under the sun, everything is done, but we know it’s not.”
Gilliam said participating in the LGEC has encouraged him to think outside of the box when it comes to a potential career choice.
“Before this, I was not considering entrepreneurship,” Gilliam said. “This brings kids in and makes them think about different career options.”
Hampton said she feels that the LGEC is something that will continue to benefit Kentucky’s future workforce because the students that participate have the opportunity to build more work-ready skills.
“This program instills in kids the types of skills that employers are looking for,” Hampton said. “I have no doubt that any one of these kids who participated, even the ones that didn’t make it to the finals, would have no problems working at any employer.”
The winner of the 2019 LGEC was team G-CAN, which consisted of Cade Bleidt and Grace Knight from Trigg County High School. Both Bleidt and Knight won $15,000 in scholarship funds to be used at any in state post-secondary school or program.
G-CAN created a prototype for a medical alert bracelet that would deliver aid in the event of a medical emergency attack, even if someone is unconscious. The device would help individuals with conditions including seizure disorders, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
LockBox finished in third place. Mooney and Gilliam each received $5,000 in scholarship funds.
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