By: Anne Dewvall
For many people, the first week of September marks the end of summer and the beginning, if not of fall, then certainly of a focus on school, football, and fall plans. For NetWork Kansas, the first week of September officially launched our 2017-2018 YEC Series. You may have seen an article or an e-mail sharing some of the details about this year’s Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series.
We expect this year, our fifth, to be another year of successive growth as more and more communities embrace the idea of introducing young people to the idea of entrepreneurship. As such, we’ve continued to evolve our model in order to welcome even more folks to the fold. For the first time, we’ve made it possible for community entrepreneurship competitions held outside of an E-Community to join in on the fun, for example. We’re also excited to partner with the Kansas State University Center for Entrepreneurship on a statewide championship April 24 that will bring together not only the winners of our YEC Series, but other talented young entrepreneurs from across Kansas.
As the YEC Series has grown, it’s taken more and more of our organization’s time. This is a good “problem” to have, no doubt. But, in order to provide the kind of hands-on oversight our popular YEC Series deserves while also continuing to explore and develop other entrepreneurship programs, I’ve turned over leadership of this year’s YEC Series to another one of our talented employees.
I would like to introduce you to Amara Kniep. Many of you are familiar with Amara, either from working with her over the last year as she has served as our Product Manager for Board Certified Entrepreneurship Programs, or from speaking with her during her time working in the NetWork Kansas referral center where she connected entrepreneurs and resource partners. She’s a longtime Kansas resident who loves spending time with her husband and dogs.
In her various roles at NetWork Kansas, Amara has proven herself smart, capable, adaptable, and determined. She’s a talented communicator and gifted at developing programs and processes, thoughtfully considering their growth. Over the summer months, Amara has worked diligently to prepare for this year’s YEC Series, hosting NetWork Kansas’ first Youth Entrepreneurship Summit in June, working with a team to develop the new YEC Portal, and helping craft the guidelines that will steer YEC groups to success. I am confident she has charted a course toward a great, great year and that you will all enjoy working with Amara.
I know she is eager to work with you, too! I asked her what she was looking forward to about this year, and she said, “I am looking forward to seeing the number of local events grow and hearing all the cool ideas students have for their businesses. Last season I was very impressed with the innovation and caliber of the competition. I’m sure the students will bring their best again this year!”
I’m still a part of NetWork Kansas’ voyage into youth entrepreneurship, and I look forward to staying connected to all of your impressive youth entrepreneurship activities, but it is now Amara who will get the pleasure of working with you one-on-one as you plan your local events. Amara will do a great job captaining this particular “ship.” Why not find out for yourself? Send her a message to say “hi” or RSVP to attend a Q&A conference call about the YEC Series by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.