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865 Kansas Students Participate in Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    April 9, 2018

Contact: Amara Kniep, Product Manager, E-Community Programs, NetWork Kansas

Phone: 316-425-8832


Thomas Co 5

Wichita, Kan. - NetWork Kansas’ Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership announces the conclusion of the 2018-2019 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) Series. During the 2018-2019 academic year, 865 students from 48 Kansas communities participated in 40 local entrepreneurship competitions.

The YEC Series consists of local-level youth entrepreneurship competitions hosted by volunteers. Local YEC Series events require students to prepare an executive summary and a 4-minute presentation, and often feature interactive tradeshows or elevator pitches. Students work in teams or individually to represent a business concept and compete for awards and prizes. Students’ work is judged by local entrepreneurs, public sector partners, teachers, and other community members.

The 2018-2019 academic year marks the sixth annual YEC series coordinated by NetWork Kansas and the E-Community Partnership. The YEC Series was created in 2013 to expose Kansas middle school and high school students to entrepreneurship and help them to begin thinking entrepreneurially. The 60-community E-Community Partnership is dedicated to increasing entrepreneurial activity and developing self-sustaining ecosystems favorable to long-term entrepreneurial growth. 

Each winning business concept earned the chance to participate at the 2019 Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge (KEC) State Championship. The competition will be held on April 30th at Kansas State University, hosted by The Kansas State University Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and sponsored by the Kansas Masonic Foundation. Students won a berth at the state championship by winning a sanctioned YEC Series competition. Fifteen wildcard applicants were selected April 5th by having their executive summary win out in a competitive qualifying round.

The 56 businesses who have advanced to the KEC State Championship will be judged on their executive summaries and 15-minute mock board room session in an initial round. They will also present an elevator pitch. Students will compete in one of four divisions. Each division has a first place prize of $4,000. Overall, $36,000 in total prizes will be awarded to the top young entrepreneurs. There will also be an optional tradeshow competition open to the public.

The Kansas communities who hosted a local YEC series event include Barton County, Chase County, Chautauqua County, Cherokee County, Cheyenne County, Clay County, Cowley County, Douglas County, Edwards County, Ellis County, Ford County, Greeley County, Kansas City, Labette County, Leavenworth County, Lincoln County, Logan County, Lyon County, Marion County, McPherson County, Montgomery County, Morton County, Norton County, Pawnee County, Phillips County, Pottawatomie County, Rawlins County, Reno County, Republic County, Rice County, Riley County, Rooks County, Salina (Fall and Spring competitions), Scott County, Sheridan County, Sherman County, Thomas County, Wichita, and Wichita County. Additional communities were invited to participate. 

2019 KEC State Championship participants that competed in a local YEC Series event:

Ad Links (Teresa Harris), Sedan High School; Akers Auto Restoration (Eirland Akers), Elkhart High School; Aleshire Farms (Cassandra Aleshire and Elizabeth Huskey), Lincoln Jr/Sr High School; AnnieArts Commissions (Annie Weishaar), Phillipsburg High School; AT&Q (Quinn Coffey and Trenton Howell), Stockton High School; B&X Web Connex (Xavier Robinson and Braxton Donovan), Hoisington High School; Beauty by Jae (Jaelyn Rumback), Norton Junior High School; Bee Safe (Sailor-Anne Seiler), Hodgeman County High School; Black Bear Brew (Jillian Millhouse and Natalie Nichols), Sterling High School; Crochet Geeks (Cassandra Zimmerman and Melissa Zimmerman), Colby Middle School; C&W Designs (Christian Koch), Oakley High School; Catfe (Ray Ma), Manhattan High School; Contained (Andrew Foote and Molly Foote), Hoxie High School; Destanie’s Desserts (Destanie Clymer), Rawlins County High School; Everbrin (Brooke Peterson), Baldwin High School; Fixes and Stitches (Laura Koch), Chase County Jr/Sr High School; Happy Critters Kitchen (Kamrynn Elling), Colby Middle School; Hartner Catering (Hunter Hartner and Halle Hartner), Republic County High School; Hatero Designs (Tessa Hauser and Hadley Hauser), Norton Community High School; HoopHers Basketball Apparel (Reema Moussa), The Independent School; jbev Studio & Design (Julia Rieger), Clay Center Middle School; Jessi Dalke Photography (Jessi Dalke), Hillsboro High School; Ketzner Feed Roasted Gold (Dylan Ketzner and Brady Ketzner), Cheylin High School; Lauren’s Treat (Lauren Seachris), Leidigh Hall Academy; Making Cents of Finance (Ethan Lang), Thomas More-Prep Marian High School; M and R Technologies (Lane Manners and David Rohling), Labette County High School; MarieLynn (Kaylee Jones), Salina Central High School; Nick’s Lawn Care Services (Nick Slavin), Greenbush; Nu-FIT (Sara Nambo), The Independent School; Origins (Kodi Rogers), Scott Community High School; Otter Creek Farms (Dylan White and Jena Kunc), Republic County High School; Peer Tutoring (Emma McKee), Wamgeo High School; Popables (Clarissa Nivens), Manhattan High School; Powell Outdoor Properties (Ethan Powell), Central Jr/Sr High School; Raspi Confections (Jessica Ta), Wichita High School Southeast; Sassy Salsa (Anna Lively), Norton Community High School; Smart Seat (Logan Losey), Salina Central High School; Social Media Strategies (Tim Krugler), Northern Heights High School; Storage Solutions, LLC (Lane Wells), Wichita County High School; Sweet Bee (RJ Weber), Oakley High School; The Bomb Lip Balm (Cassie Strickler), Pike Valley High School; The Parlor (Kaitlyn Livas), Rawlins County High School; Theta Digital Marketing Solutions LLC (Luke Sanford), Salina Central High School; Unwrapped Grocers (Alison Gardner and Madison Warner), Southeast High School; VrView (Erny Knelsen and Tayber Elder), Greeley County High School; Wildflower Designs (Elizabeth Cook), Basehor-Linwood High School and Yowl Creek Root Beer and Sweet Treats (Sophia Glanville), Chase County Jr/Sr High School.

For more information, contact Amara Kniep at or visit: