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K-State Today

March 29, 2018

K-State Launch competition awards $6,000 to student entrepreneurs

By Brent Fritzemeier

K-State Launch Winners

A Kansas State University entrepreneurial idea competition has awarded 11 students and six different business ideas with a total of $6,000 in prize money.

The K-State Launch competition gives students experience in the process of making a business proposal. The competition is organized by the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration and is open to all students and majors in the university. In total, 42 student teams entered the competition this year by submitting a feasible written plan, which was used to narrow the field to nine finalists.

The finalists then each had the opportunity to deliver a business pitch to a panel of judges that consisted of local entrepreneurs, bankers and investment experts which had $6,000 in prize money to distribute to the ideas and entrepreneurs they felt showed the most promise.

"K-State Launch is an opportunity to showcase the tremendous entrepreneurial talent at K-State," 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."

In the end, six businesses were awarded cash prizes by the judges' panel, with the top team also being chosen to represent Kansas State University at this spring's Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Chris Zachary, senior in entrepreneurship, Manhattan, was awarded the $2,000 grand prize and a spot in the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge with his pitch for Iris, a web platform that provides customized video animation and content marketing.

Second place and $1,500 went to Dylan Roney, freshman in business administration, Northfield, Minnesota, for his business Potty Patch, an indoor mat for pets made from natural resources.

Completing the top three with a $1,000 prize was Chelsea Werdel, sophomore in business, Sisseton, South Dakota, for Genie in a Bottle, an IT and business management solution for salon and spa businesses.

Three additional teams were selected for a $500 honorable mention award. They include:

  • Victory Pyrotechnic, a custom firework show design service business from Cody Hanna, freshman in engineering, Clearwater; Shiloh Murray, junior in animal sciences and industry, Preston; and Valeria Saenz, junior in business, Ulysses.

  • Wonderfully Made, an online platform connecting third world poverty stricken artisans with the United States market through missionaries, while also providing a way for missionaries to be financially sustained, founded by Dietra Sober, junior in social sciences, and Mikala Bradbury, junior in social work, both from Wellington.

  • Health Hut, strategically placed vending machines with healthy snack options, pitched by Brooke Montgomery, sophomore in business, Kansas City; Morgan Meadows, freshman in business, Atlanta, Georgia; and Grant Giardino, freshman in business, Kirkwood, Missouri. 

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