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Youth entrepreneurship contest to be offered in 5-county area
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ST. JOHN – Area high school students will take over St. John on Wednesday, March 2 with business products and service ideas.
Stafford County Economic Development, in cooperation with NetWork Kansas, is hosting a Youth Entrepreneurship Competition for adjoining counties that are also classified as a NetWork Kansas E-Community.
Students from Kiowa, Pawnee, Reno, Rice and Stafford counties are eligible to participate in the day-long event.
For information on the event, visit or email
Stafford County Economic Development strives to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset with students in Stafford County schools.
Entrepreneurship classes are offered in USD 349 STARS and USD 350 LIFE after-school programs.
Stafford County Eco Devo has also supported development of the USD 349 SEED program that developed a bread mix sold in commercial distribution channels and is available to school food-service kitchens statewide. By hosting a youth entrepreneurship competition, Stafford County Eco Devo can directly encourage these students to pursue their business idea, no matter how big or small their obstacles may seem.
“If a student possesses that entrepreneurial mindset, they will be able to excel above and beyond in the real world after graduation,” said Ashlee Bevan, Stafford County Eco-Devo program director. “. Entrepreneurs find ways to develop a product or service that is needed. They are leaders. Why wouldn’t we want to cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset at a young age?”
The competition in March consists of three different parts. Prior to the competition day, each student or team of students, must submit an executive summary and a business plan that can be reviewed by the judges. This will allow the judges to thoroughly listen to each three minute elevator pitch the day of the competition. Following the elevator pitch, judges will have 10 minutes to ask questions.
The best part for the students; up to a $1,000 cash prize for the first place winner and a chance at receiving feedback on their business idea. Other cash awards will be given as second, third, and special category prizes.
Top performers will have the chance to compete at the Kansas State Youth Entrepreneurship Competition in April at Kansas State University in Manhattan.
Other activities to keep the students moving throughout the day are in the works.
“We hope to make this an annual event,” Bevan said. “We decided to pull the trigger and volunteer as a host to get something going in our area.”
This event will be open to anyone in the community who would like to come and support the students’ work.