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Student entrepreneurs program receives $200K grant

KeyBank has awarded a $200,000 grant to Trailhead, a non-profit organization offering mentoring and support services to rural Idaho student entrepreneurs. | Courtesy KeyBank
The following is a news release from KeyBank and Trailhead:
BOISE — KeyBank has awarded a $200,000 grant to Trailhead, a non-profit organization offering mentoring and support services to Idaho student entrepreneurs. The grant will allow Trailhead to expand its You Lead Idaho program and empower more students through education, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, innovation and technology.
“Programs like You Lead Idaho equip students with the confidence and skills needed to build businesses and offer sustainable employment for Idaho citizens,” said Scott Schlange, president of KeyBank Idaho. “I look forward to seeing the results of our students’ entrepreneurial skills and pioneering ideas.”
You Lead Idaho utilizes an approved entrepreneurial curriculum delivered remotely to rural students. The program’s goal is to increase the college go-on rates of rural students through a program that fosters learning, technology, and mentorship. The program culminates with an online pitch competition where scholarship dollars will be awarded, based on student team presentations to Idaho-based judges.
“Small town kids don’t always have opportunities that kids in a bigger city do,” said Shelli Shroeder, Counselor at Shoshone High School. “By asking them to grow and making them a little bit uncomfortable, it creates the opportunity for them to say, ‘I did this, now I can go to college’ and have confidence in that.”
The grant will also allow Trailhead to grow the program by providing additional scholarship dollars and monetary awards to winning schools and teachers, as well as award dual-enrollment college credits and increase the mentorship hours available to student teams.
About You Lead Idaho
You Lead Idaho empowers rural high school students in Idaho through education in entrepreneurship, financial literacy, innovation, and technology. It offers mentorship, scholarships, and dual college credit to expand educational opportunities.
Collaboratively developed by Trailhead, KeyBank, and IDLA, the program uses an approved entrepreneurial curriculum delivered remotely. Idaho’s low college go-on rates, as reported by Idaho Education News, have stagnated at 45-46 percent since 2015. You Lead Idaho aims to increase these rates by fostering learning, e-learning, technology and mentorship in rural areas. Participation in the program equips students with valuable skills and broadens their post-graduation choices, positively impacting their educational and career pathways in rural Idaho communities.
After a comprehensive eight-unit academic module, the program will culminate in an online pitch competition, where high school teams will present their ideas to judges located in Boise and other locations throughout Idaho. Each team will present online from their respective schools to the panel of judges. The judges determine 1st and 2nd place winners, who then receive scholarships.
After conclusion of the program, students will also have the opportunity to travel to Boise for a two-day immersion experience, leading up to another pitch competition where they will compete against urban schools (Boise State University’s “Idaho High School Entrepreneurial Challenge”) for more cash prizes.
To date, You Lead Idaho has achieved the following impacts on rural high school students:

132 students have participated and completed the program
22 rural schools in Idaho have participated, representing 9 rural school districts
$10,000 have been awarded directly to the schools of the 1st place teams
$10,000 have been awarded directly in stipends to the teachers who participate in the program
$40,000 have been awarded in scholarships to rural high school students
Over 320 hours of mentorship and coaching have been delivered to students
315 dual enrollment credits for college and universities have been earned by students

About Trailhead
Trailhead is an innovation and start-up hub located in downtown Boise. It is a 501 c3 non-profit and was founded through a public and private partnership initiative in 2015.
Our vision is to democratize access to entrepreneurship. We do so by relentlessly pursuing our mission to help entrepreneurs succeed (regardless of age, background, socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity etc.), so they can start and grow companies in our City and State.
Entrepreneurs drive innovation, and, in turn, innovation drives our economic development. With intentional and targeted entrepreneurial support, an entire start-up ecosystem can be cultivated in a community, which will in turn drive economic growth and increase prosperity for people from all walks of life.
At Trailhead, we nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and strive to promote diversity and inclusion. We provide early stage entrepreneurs with a collaborative and inclusive coworking space, mentorship, educational programming and experiential learning, all while nurturing and developing the entrepreneurial community.
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