Opportunities--Make Them Happen

Be part of a life-changing experience; Apply by March 24​

Who Is Eligible?

Students in grades 9, 10, or 11 who live and attend school in the state of West Virginia are eligible to participate in this outstanding and exciting program, including students who attended previously. 

What Should You Expect?
The three-week Governor’s School of Entrepreneurship is for high school students from all parts of West Virginia. If selected, you’ll join a select group of aspiring entrepreneurs at Marshall University to learn about how to develop successful new businesses.

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Student Qualifications
  • Must be a resident of West Virginia;
  • Must attend high school in West Virginia;
  • Must be in 9th, 10th, or 11th grades;
  • Must have current immunizations required by the WVDE;
  • Must be recommended by the principal;
  • Must be dedicated to learning;
  • Should possess outstanding curiosity;
  • Must be willing to accept challenges and be flexible.

Who Will Be in Charge?

Dean Olen York brings special talents to the GSE. He and his team are working with other experts in innovation and entrepreneurship to create a memorable experience for the students who are chosen to attend.  

Olen York, JD, LL.M., GSE Dean, olen.york@marshall.edu


The curriculum for the 2023​ West Virginia Governor’s School of Entrepreneurship will focus on best practices from prior Governor’s Schools of West Virginia and Kentucky, as well as best practices from established entrepreneurial ecosystems and institutions. This includes Intuit’s Design for Delight (D4D) methodology. It is anticipated that these best practices include awareness, understanding, and/or application of the following:

  • personal passions, skills, strengths, and purpose
  • opportunity/problem identification
  • alignment of passion and purpose with opportunities
  • team-building and collaboration customer-centered innovation via empathy-based field research that will 
      • identify and narrowly define a significant problem/challenge
      • identify one or more relevant customer segments; ideate many ideas to narrowly identify a proposed solution
      • develop a high-impact value proposition aligned with passion(s), purpose, and skills/strength
  • creation of a prototype to use in testing assumptions and hypotheses
  • utilization of a business model canvas to
      • learn and organize key business concepts (marketing, management, etc.)
      • track additional assumption/hypotheses to test
      • note discoveries and/or changes (and memorialize development)
  • creation of a pitch deck and delivery of an integrative and impactful business idea as well as the story of their entrepreneurial journey

Most days you’ll have lessons and team sessions in both the morning and afternoon. Each team of entrepreneurs will find a quiet spot to plan together. Throughout the weeks there will be exciting activities and lessons that will garner the knowledge to be successful entrepreneurs. The curriculum is focused in four different categories: hospitality and tourism, healthcare, technology, and creative economies that are important to our state.  


Throughout the entire three-week Governor’s School, you will be working with other young entrepreneurs to develop, pitch, and launch a new venture. All teams will have time to develop their idea before they will pitch it to a panel of investors who have the opportunity to invest in their ideas. After a successful pitch, teams will have time to develop, test, market, and launch their ventures on the last weekend. 


Young E's  will meet highly successful entrepreneurs, hear their stories, and see their businesses first hand. The final day of the Governor’s School, you’ll have a chance to recount everything you’ve learned, meet with your investors to give them a report, and then join Governor Jim Justice or his designee for the Governor’s Awards Ceremony.


As are all WV Governor's Schools, the GSE is cost-free. The only financial responsibility for the students and their families are the provision of health insurance as well as transportation to and from Marshall. 

Are you interested but would like to know more before applying? Click here.