MANHATTAN — A student entrepreneurship competition featuring high school and collegiate teams from across Kansas has awarded entrepreneurial-minded students with $75,000 in prize money.
The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge gave students from around the state experience in the process of making a business proposal. The fourth annual event is organized by the Kansas State University Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and this year was sponsored by the Kansas Masonic Foundation.
“The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge allows us to support entrepreneurial innovation in the state of Kansas,” said Robert Shively, executive director of the Kansas Masonic Foundation. “The quality of the presentations today has absolutely blown me away. We hope that by providing these students with support, visibility and funding, they can continue to grow their ideas and contribute to their local economy and communities.”
In the opening round of the competition, teams delivered a four-minute quick pitch of their business to a panel of judges that consisted of entrepreneurs, bankers and investment experts. From those pitches, the judges selected four high school finalists and four collegiate finalists, who each then had the opportunity to do a more in-depth pitch, followed by a question-and-answer session with the judging panel.
“This event is an opportunity to showcase the tremendous entrepreneurial talent we have in the state of Kansas,” said Chad Jackson, director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. “The real-world experience of pitching a business in front of the type of business experts we have on our panel is invaluable to these students, and provides real-world feedback and support to launch companies within our state.”
The fourth-place high school finalist was the team of Corbin Hawkins and Robert Deleon, Stafford High School. The team’s pitch for Scan from the Past, a QR code system used in cemeteries to find out more about the deceased, was awarded $1,500.