Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation continued its tradition by supporting this year’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) presented by the Center for Rural Development along with Eastern Kentucky University.

25 Students participated

While the 2020 ELI was conducted virtually, there was no difference in the innovation and effort put forth by the 25 highly motivated students selected from Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The annual summer leadership camp for student entrepreneurs provided them with an in-depth look at what it takes to start their own business venture — from idea development to building a model prototype of their business concept. Shelton Ansley from Kentucky Highlands Innovation Center helped lead the students through the steps of turning an idea into a reality.


Members of the winning team earned a $16,000 provost scholarship from EKU

The Winners

This year’s winners created a mask prototype with a silicone tubing and wire system to help mask users avoid fogging up eye glasses. While responding to the need of healthcare practitioners during the COVID-19 pandemic was inspiration behind the creation, the team also explained during their presentation to judges they anticipate their new product could become a staple in the medical mask industry post pandemic. The winning team members included Tanner Morrison from Knott County, Karaline Melton from Leslie County, Caleb Rose from Harlan County, and Logan Morrison from Knott County. Each student received a provost scholarship offer from Eastern Kentucky University totaling $16,000