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yec star

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           
November 25, 2019

Contact: Amara Kniep, Product Manager of E-Community Programs, NetWork Kansas
Phone: 316-425-8832


Wichita, KS – NetWork Kansas’ Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership announces the 2019-2020 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) Series. The YEC Series consists of local-level youth entrepreneurship competitions hosted by volunteers. The goal of the competition is to expose Kansas middle school and high school students to entrepreneurship. Forty-eight local events in Kansas cities and counties will culminate in a state championship hosted at Kansas State University on April 28, 2020.  

“There are lots of students who could make great entrepreneurs, but they normally don’t have the opportunity to explore or test their entrepreneurial ideas. Traditionally, schools are not able to help students participate in the marketplace, but the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge gives them that opportunity. By participating in YEC, 7th – 12th graders gain hands-on experience with business, business planning, or both. Most of our participants actually run their businesses, and they make real money. What they learn through their experience, they could never learn from a textbook or from a class. Most importantly, they become empowered to take ownership of their education, because learning, adapting, and solving problems have become the means to achieve their success,” says Tim Haynes, Manager of Fab Lab ICC in Independence, KS.

Local YEC Series events require students to prepare an executive summary and four-minute presentation, and often feature interactive tradeshows or elevator pitches. Students compete for awards and prizes. Students’ work is judged by local entrepreneurs, public sector partners, teachers, and other community members. The first place business idea at each local YEC Series competition qualifies to compete at the state championship. Up to fifteen additional business ideas can earn the right to participate at the state championship through a wildcard application process.   

"The YEC Series helps students gain experience with creative problem solving and confidence in presenting their ideas to others. The competitions can help students feel more connected to their community as they think of needs they could fill in their local area. This year we expect the YEC Series to involve over 1,000 students,” says Amara Kniep, Product Manager of E-Community Programs.

Competitions in the 2019-2020 YEC Series will be hosted in: Bourbon County, Chase County, Chautauqua County, Cherokee County, Cheyenne County, Clay County, Cowley County, Crawford County, Douglas County, Edwards County, Ellis County, Ford County, Greeley County, Hodgeman County, Kiowa County, Labette County, Leavenworth County, Lincoln County, Marion County, McPherson County, Mitchell County, Montgomery County, Morton County, Neosho County, Norton County, Pawnee County, Phillips County, Pottawatomie County, Rawlins County, Reno County, Republic County, Rice County, Riley County, Rooks County, Russell County, Saline County (both Fall and Spring events), Sedgwick County, Seward County, Shawnee County, Sheridan County, Sherman County, Stafford County, Thomas County, Wichita County and Wyandotte County. KC BizFest is also participating in the YEC Series.

During 2018-2019, 865 students from more than forty-five Kansas communities participated in forty local entrepreneurship competitions as part of the YEC series. The 2019-2020 academic year marks the seventh annual YEC series coordinated by NetWork Kansas and the E-Community Partnership.

For more information, contact Amara Kniep, Manager of E-Community Programs, at

For more information about NetWork Kansas or the E-Community Partnership, visit