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YEC Competition Planners’ Spotlight: Reno County

By: NetWork Kansas


Reno County is entering their second year of hosting a YEC Series local event, and has several unique planning practices that we would like to share with you. Dave Dukart, Director of the Quest Center for Entrepreneurs, shares the ways Reno County plans their event.

Key components of their planning include:

·       Getting community organizations involved

·       Forming solid connections with partners

·       Seeking out overlooked audiences such as home school students and FFA


Reno County's largest focus has been on community involvement. As Dave says, "the more community involvement, the better." Reno County kicked off this YEC season with a planning meeting including all partners in the county. Hutchinson Community College (HCC) Outreach, the Chamber of Commerce, Reno County K-State Extension Office, 4H, and two local Mason chapters were all represented at this meeting. At this meeting all of these organizations discussed how they could work together to plan the event, market, draw in students, and make their local YEC event a success.

Reno County also makes sure to utilize these partner organizations to help promote the event. For example, 4H designed their flier that they have been distributing locally. At a local conference for students across central Kansas, 600 of these fliers were given out. Follow ups with schools have been done and connections will be made through these partners to recruit judges for the event.

Dave also believes in the importance of bringing in a community's local FFA Chapter. FFA students in Reno County are required to participate in a Supervised Ag Experience, in which they do activities such as prepare cash flows and profit and loss statements. About two-thirds of them already have their own businesses and thus make an excellent target market for YEC participation.

Another target market Reno County continues to tap into is homeschool students across the county. There are about 150 homeschoolers countywide. Last year their local competition winner was a homeschool student who went on to place in the top five businesses at the YEC State Championship.

Lastly, Dave also recommends defining the term "entrepreneurial" to students. Many students don't naturally think of themselves as entrepreneurial, but once this term is explained to them it becomes easier for students to understand entrepreneurship and to realize it is something within their grasp.

We hope you'll look over the takeaways from Reno County's planning process and find some inspiration for your own event!