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Source: Jeff Hornsby, 785-532-1301,
Web site:
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Friday, Jan. 23, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's new Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship has a challenge for K-State students with entrepreneurial ideas.

The "Next Big Thing" competition asks K-State students to put their ideas to the test in exchange for $9,000 in prize money. Undergraduate students from all departments and colleges are eligible to take part and can compete as teams or individuals. The deadline to sign up is Thursday, Feb. 5.

"We really want to encourage entrepreneurial thinking," said Jeff Hornsby, head of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. "Opportunities for undergrads to take part in this kind of competition are scarce and the competition will allow students from all disciplines to test the waters."

Students start out with an idea for a venture in one of two categories: an open category and one for technology-related enterprises. Students or teams who have their proposals accepted will then have a chance to take part in several seminars on such topics as market analysis and research, financial planning/feasibility for new ventures, new venture management and growth, and business ideation and creativity.

Throughout the semester, students will develop and fine-tune their feasibility plan to compete against others. The competition will then be whittled down and eight finalists in each category will go on to an all-day competition April 24. A first, second and third-place winner will then be determined with $2,500, $1,250 and $750, respectively, to be awarded in each category. Awards will be presented later that evening at the first K-State Celebration of Entrepreneurship banquet.

"It's a hands-on program where they'll be learning all about taking that idea from the creative, problem-solving stage to financing and building business models," Hornsby said. "Week by week, they'll be taken through the entire entrepreneurial process."

The Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship is designed to bring faculty and students from across disciplines together to foster entrepreneurship on campus and in communities across Kansas.

The competition and Celebration of Entrepreneurship banquet are being underwritten through a gift from Phil Howe, a Manhattan entrepreneur and chief executive officer of Kansas State Bank.