K-State 105 brings NetWork Kansas, K-State Research and Extension together to build up statewide youth entrepreneurship program

Media contacts: Kansas State University Division of Communications and Marketing, 785-532-2535, [email protected]; and Bailee Henry, NetWork Kansas, [email protected]

View online: https://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/2024-01/KState-105-partners-network-kansas-ksre-for-kansas-entrepreneurship-challenge.html


Thursday, January 4, 2024

MANHATTAN AND ANDOVER — Two K-State 105 partners — NetWork Kansas and K-State Research and Extension — are collaborating to bring the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge to new heights as one of the leading youth entrepreneurship competitions in the state of Kansas.

A first-of-its-kind commitment from K-State Research and Extension and Kansas 4-H will fully fund the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge, or KEC, which is a program of the NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship (E)-Community Partnership. The contribution involves nearly $100,000 in program support for KEC per year for three consecutive years, beginning with the current 2023-24 competition year.

“A next-generation land-grant university is invested in the future, and that is exactly what we are doing as we partner with NetWork Kansas to build up the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge,” said Gregg Hadley, Kansas State University assistant vice president and director for extension. “Young entrepreneurs are the future of economic prosperity in Kansas, and it’s a natural fit for K-State Research and Extension to support a program that builds on youth development in all 105 counties in Kansas.”

The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge represents the culmination of a sequence of community-based entrepreneurship competitions for students in grades 6-12, known as the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, or YEC, series.

NetWork Kansas, a statewide entrepreneurial organization, coordinates the YEC series and KEC in partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship in the K-State College of Business Administration. The 2023-24 competition year marks the 11th annual YEC season.

During the most recent 2022-23 competition year, the YEC series held 56 local-level competitions featuring 1,136 high school and middle school students from across Kansas. More than $90,000 in prize money was awarded to winners across the state. First place winners of local YEC events, plus 15 wild-card entries, advanced to KEC, which occurred at K-State in spring 2023.

At KEC, young entrepreneurs competed in three rounds of live mock board rooms and a separate, optional trade show as well as a networking game. Overall, $65,000 in total prizes were awarded in the 2023 KEC high school division.

“We at NetWork Kansas are so excited to announce our partnership with K-State Research and Extension,” said Amara Kniep, director of E-Community partnership. “Their dedication to serving Kansans and offering resources across the state aligns closely with our mission. We are very much looking forward to working together to provide hands-on learning opportunities for youth across all 105 Kansas counties.”

For K-State Research and Extension, the collaboration represents an opportunity to extend another proven program to build vital communities across the state. The strengthened partnership with NetWork Kansas creates a pathway for future work.

“Through 4-H, K-State has a long history of providing high-quality positive youth development programming in all 105 Kansas counties,” said Sarah Maass, program director for 4-H youth development. “I’m excited to continue the momentum through this new partnership with NetWork Kansas. The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge provides a unique educational opportunity to empower young people, which is a key element of the 4-H mission.”

New materials, including updated competition guidelines, are available to help support series coordinators and competition organizers. Watch a video to learn more about the YEC series.

Key dates for the 2023-24 competition year include:

• March 19, 2024: Cutoff date for sanctioned community entrepreneurship competitions.
• March 19, 2024: Wild-card entries for KEC State Championship due.
• March 19, 2024: Executive summaries for KEC State Championship due.
• April 16, 2024: KEC State Championship at K-State.

For more information about the YEC series, visit goventuredash.com/series/1219. To learn more about KEC, visit cba.ksu.edu/kec or reach out to Bailee Henry at [email protected].

K-State 105 is Kansas State University’s answer to the call for a comprehensive economic growth and advancement solution for Kansas. The initiative leverages the statewide K-State Research and Extension network to deliver the full breadth of the university’s collective knowledge and solution-driven innovation to every Kansan, right where they live and work. Additionally, K-State 105 forges the connections and partnerships that create access to additional expertise within other state institutions and agencies, nonprofits and corporations — all part of an effort to build additional capacities and strengths in each of the 105 counties in the state. For more information, visit k-state.edu/105.

About NetWork Kansas
NetWork Kansas was established as a component of the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to further entrepreneurship and small business growth as a priority for economic and community development in the state of Kansas. Backed by more than 500 partners statewide, the NetWork Kansas service promotes an entrepreneurial environment by connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the expertise, education and economic resources they need in order to succeed.

NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the Entrepreneurship (E)-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include availability of financial capital, support by local leadership and development of educational resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation and more.

For more information about the E-Community Partnership, visit ecommpartnership.com or call 877-521-8600.

About K-State Research and Extension
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county extension offices, experiment fields, area extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan. For more information, visit ksre.ksu.edu. K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Share this post