By Jamie Hofling | December 16, 2014
Students at the Labette County E-Fair competed for $1,850 in prizes. L-R:
Devon Foster, Erin Falkenstein, Bryce Thomas, Matthew Strathe.
Labette County High School hosted its third annual business plan competition this month. Kylie Ludwig from Family and Consumer Sciences organized the event and worked with interested teachers, the school counselor, and principal to make it happen.
Approximately 500 students from grades 9-12 were invited to put their idea for a business to the test and display them in front of judges. Four bold students signed up. They were given a business plan outline and a list of teachers to contact for mentorship.
What better way to encourage a budding entrepreneur than to get them really motivated than with cash prizes? All of the prize money was donated by area businesses and members of the community; first Place: $1,000, second place: $500, third place: $250, and because there were four participants, NetWork Kansas pitched in another $100 for there to be a fourth place.
Counterclockwise from left: A student speaks with judges Jamie Hofling, Brooke Roberts, and Jack Newcomb about her business idea.
This was the first competition I judged and it was fun being in a position to explore their ideas with them, ask questions and offer suggestions to get them to elaborate on their plan. They all had obvious potential to go into business for themselves and had done a lot of research on their plan but more importantly they were excited about what they created and were already testing their product or service in the market.
First place went to Devon Foster with FAST (Foster Ag Service Technology, LLC.), a business that does soil analysis for farmers; second place went to Erin Falkenstein Falkenstein Family Goat Show Goats, a goat farm that offers show consulting; third went to Bryce Thomas and Toolbox Tunes, a business that makes boom boxes out of toolboxes and mailboxes; and fourth went to Matthew Strathe of Thomas Clipping, a business that clears pastures.
This year the Labette County participants are invited by NetWork Kansas to compete in the regional Southeast Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on April 29th where student entrepreneurs from southeast Kansas E-Communities have the opportunity to compete with one another.