MANHATTAN — A statewide student entrepreneurship competition featuring 77 high school and five community college teams from across the state has awarded entrepreneurial-minded students $75,000 in prize money.
The following area high school students won the top prize of $3,000 in the competition: Ian Dunn and Weston Peterson, St. John.
The following area high school students won $1,700 in the competition: Kiley Stevenson, Ellinwood; and Cruz Donley, Owen Donley and Thaddeus Donley, Kanopolis.
The following community college student won the top prize of $3,000 in the competition: Jacie Roth, Barton County Community College.
The 10th annual Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge gave students from around the state experience in the process of making a business proposal. The event was organized by Kansas State University’s
Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. The Kansas Masonic Foundation sponsored the event, which was also supported by Network Kansas.
“I was blown away by the maturity and poise of all of the students, especially at the high school level, and I was particularly impressed with the innovative ideas on display,” said Robert Nelson, president of the Kansas Masonic Foundation. “We see this event as an opportunity for the Kansas Masons to extend our charitable mission to help young people build businesses that are going to help the state’s economy and be beneficial to all Kansans and Kansas communities.”
Prior to the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge, many of the teams competed in a local-level competition series hosted by Network Kansas known as the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. The winning team from each of the 56 local competitions automatically qualified for a spot in the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge. All qualifying teams received $700.
The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge saw teams compete in three events: a mock boardroom session, a trade show and a trading card game to test the students’ entrepreneurial mindset. In the mock boardroom, judges reviewed each team’s executive summary and had 10 minutes with each team to ask questions about their business. The judges’ scores were used to determine winners in the different competition divisions. In the tradeshow event, students showcased their products and services to guests at the competition, and then the guests voted for their favorite ideas.
“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.”