PROVIDENCE, RI – Lt. Governor Daniel McKee today announced Rhode Island's third Lt. Governor's Entrepreneurship Challenge, a business pitch competition open to high school students across the state. This year, participants will compete for $14,000 in scholarships, the largest amount since the program launched in 2018.
"The future of Rhode Island’s economy depends on our ability to cultivate and retain young, entrepreneurial talent. The Lt. Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge is our way of letting young innovators know that we want and need their skills in our state," Lt. Governor McKee said. "I am proud of the team that helps make the challenge a reality. The Credit Unions of Rhode Island and other local businesses donate the scholarship funds for students; small business owners help us evaluate business plans and Millennial Rhode Island supports the growth and development of the program year after year."
Rhode Island students in grades 9-12 can take the challenge by submitting a business plan to the Lt. Governor's Office by Friday, April 10, 2020. The top five students or student teams advance to a Shark Tank-style business pitch competition at the New England Institute of Technology in May 2020 where a panel of judges awards scholarships based on pitch scores. Students can apply and find guidelines for the challenge at www.rilgec.com.
The Credit Unions of Rhode Island, a local branch of the Cooperative Credit Union Association, is the lead scholarship sponsor. Additional sponsors include: Dr. Day Care, Massey & Associates Inc., Rhode Island Association of Realtors and Dunkin' Donuts Franchisee David Batista. Millennial Rhode Island, a local network of young professionals, is the program's non-profit partner and fiscal agent.
“All across Rhode Island, credit unions are committed to the success and growth of the communities they serve,” said Ron McLean, President/CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association. “This commitment extends far beyond providing the best in personalized banking services. It also includes financial education and a social responsibility to protect seniors from financial exploitation and to invest in the future leaders of the state by sponsoring the Credit Union High School Basketball Championships and by awarding thousands of dollars in scholarships, especially to those recognized by the Lt Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge. We stand proud with Lt. Governor McKee in recognizing tomorrow’s business leaders of Rhode Island through our support of his Entrepreneurship Challenge.”
Since 2018, over 90 students have participated in the challenge and 19 student finalists have received over $20,000 in scholarships.
Lt. Governor McKee modeled this program after the Kentucky Lt. Governor's Entrepreneurship Challenge, an initiative he learned about during his time as Chair of the National Lieutenant Governors Association.