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Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge awards $77,000 to student entrepreneurs

Friday, May 3, 2019


Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge grand prizewinners. | Download this photo.


MANHATTAN — A student entrepreneurship competition featuring 56 high school and 10 collegiate teams from across Kansas has awarded entrepreneurial-minded students with $77,000 in prize money.

The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge gave students experience in the process of making a business proposal. The sixth annual event was organized by the Kansas State University Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and was sponsored by the Kansas Masonic Foundation on behalf of all Kansas Masons, and 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 was particularly impressed with the innovative ideas on display," said Rick Ryan, executive vice 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."

The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge saw teams compete in two areas: an elevator pitch and a mock boardroom session. For the elevator pitch, competitors had two minutes to pitch their business to a panel of judges without the aid of any presentation materials. In the mock boardroom, judges reviewed each teams' executive summary and had 15 minutes with each team to ask questions about their businesses. The judges' scores were used to determine winners in the different competition divisions.

High school teams also had the option to participate in a tradeshow event showcasing their products and services. Guests at the competition were able to vote for their favorite idea. The winning team received a $500 prize sponsored by Network Kansas.

"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."

High school competition winners

Existing Business Division:
• Grand prize of $4,000 — Ethan Lang, Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, Hays, for Making Cents of Finance.
• Runner-up prize of $2,500 — Aidan Scurato and Nate Schanker, Blue Valley North High School, Overland Park, for Hyped KC.
• Honorable mention of $1,000 — Julia Rieger, Clay Center Community Middle School, Clay Center, for jBev Studio & Design.
• Honorable mention of $1,000 — Laura Koch, Chase County High School, Cottonwood Falls, for Fixes and Stitches.

Technology Division:
• Grand prize of $4,000 — Austin Jones and Hunter Vasquez, Blue Valley West High School, Overland Park, for Drone Estate.
• Runner-up prize of $2,500 — Sailor-Anne Seiler, Hodgeman County High School, Jetmore, for Bee Safe.
• Honorable mention of $1,000 — Austin Stahl, Seaman Middle School, Topeka, for Free State UAS.
• Honorable mention of $1,000 — Erny Knelsen and Tayber Elder, Greeley County High School, Tribune, for VrView.

Agriculture Division:
• Grand prize of $4,000 — Dylan Ketzner and Brady Ketzener, Cheylin High School, Bird City, for Ketzner Feed Roasted Gold.
• Runner-up prize of $2,500 — Lane Manners and David Rohling, Labette County High School, Altamont, for M&R Technologies.
• Honorable mention of $1,000 — Cassandra Aleshire and Elizabeth Huskey, Lincoln High School, Lincoln, for Aleshire Farms.
• Honorable mention of $1,000 — Jena Kunc and Dylan White, Republic County High School, Belleville, for Otter Creek Farms.

Open Division:
• Grand prize of $4,000 — Cassie Stickler, Pike Valley High School, Scandia, for The Bomb Lip Balm.
• Runner-up prize of $2,500 — Kodi Rogers, Scott Community High School, Scott City, for Origins.
• Honorable mention of $1,000 —  Reema Moussa, The Independent School, Wichita, for HoopHers.
• Honorable mention of $1,000 — Andrew Foote and Molly Foote, Hoxie High School, Hoxie, for Contained.

Collegiate competition winners

Technology Division:
• Grand prize of $5,000 — Dustin Aherin, Kansas State University, doctoral student in pathobiology from Phillipsburg, for  Cattlelist.
• Runner-up prize for $4,000 — Tammy Dorsey and James Balman, Wichita State University, Wichita, for Prenatal Hope.
• Honorable mention prize for $2,500 — Joshua Peck, Emporia State University, Emporia, for Outdoor Buddy.

Open Division:
• Grand prize of $5,000 — Wynter Jacobs and Sarah Clausen, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, for Live Oriental. 
• Runner-up prize for $4,000 — Andrew Foreman, Jim Henry and Jonathan Barnell, Washburn University, Topeka, for Arbor Industries.
• Honorable mention prize for $2,500 — Anni Paunisaari, Emporia State University, Emporia, for The Circle.

News tip

Altamont, Belleville, Bird City,Clay Center, Cottonwood Falls, Emporia, Hays, Hoxie, Jetmore, Lincoln, Manhattan, Overland Park, Pittsburg, Scandia, Scott City, Topeka, Tribune and Wichita.

Editor's note

For additional photos of winning teams, please contact brentf@kstate.edu.

Written by

Brent Fritzemeier