Apply for ELI

Welcome to the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute Application Homepage! The application is now available on Google Classroom. The application deadline is March 31, 2021. ELI will take place on July 26-30, 2021 at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, KY.

The 2019 winning team for the ELI Business Concept Competition was “Team Econition.” Members of Team Econition “Protecting the Environment, One Shot at a Time,” pitched a new product idea for a biodegradable shotgun shell with the same effectiveness of traditional ammunition, but is environmentally friendly, cheaper, and requires no cleanup. From Left, Allison Cross, community liaison and youth programs coordinator at The Center; Autumn McCutchen, Clinton County High School; Kyrin Norris, Garrard County High School; Bethany Davenport, Whitley County High School; Eric Billips, Ashland Paul Blazer High School; Peyton Dabney, Campbellsville Independent; and Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center.


To be eligible to apply, the student must:

  • Be a current high school freshman, sophomore or junior in high school
  • Live in a county located within the 45-county service area of The Center for Rural Development. The forty-five county service area consists of the following Kentucky counties: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Harlan, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Taylor, Wayne, Whitley and Wolfe.
  • Have a demonstrated interest in business, leadership and entrepreneurship.
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4 point scale).


Selection Process

A total of 25 students from The Center’s 45-county service area will be selected for the program in 2020. A selection committee consisting of staff from The Center for Rural Development will be established. In order to ensure fairness, applications will be blinded and applicant names removed prior to distributing copies to the selection committee. The committee will review and score all of the applications according to the criteria and point values established for each section.

 The top 25 applicants with the highest score will be selected to attend the program. All applicants remaining after the first 25 selections will be considered as alternates and will be ranked from the highest to lowest score. If a selected student is unable to attend the program, alternates will be contacted in order of their rank until the open spot is filled. For this reason, all applicants are encouraged to keep the program dates and the possibility of selection in mind as they make their plans for the summer.

Application Kit

The 2021 ELI application is on Google Classroom. Please download the application checklist below and use the Classroom Code at the bottom of the page to get connected. If you need assistance, please contact Allison Cross at or call 606-677-600.

  • Application Checklist
  • Missing Worksheets? – If you are using a school-related email and cannot view files in your assignments, you will have to sign into Google Classroom with a personal email address. 

Application Assistance

If you need help with the application, register for one of our application assistance sessions. Pre-registration is required.

Dates will be announced soon.

Getting Connected to Google Classroom:

The first step in the application process is getting connected to Google Classroom. Before moving forward, make sure to watch the “Connecting to Google Classroom” video which will show you step-by-step how to get connected. All Google Classroom codes will be listed here. Please copy your code before going to Google Classroom.


Google Classroom Code: 


Important Note: If you have trouble joining the classroom from a school email account, it  may be a security issue. You will have to use a non-school related email address.