Grow Hays, Inc. hosted the Ellis County YEC, Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, on November 7, at BriefSpace in downtown Hays. Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is a competition to teach high school students about entrepreneurship.
The local competition consisted of 26 students submitting a written executive summary (written business plan), a tradeshow booth, and a four-minute presentation. There were 18 projects presented, with 17 of those from Thomas More Prep Marian and one from Ellis High School. Prize money of $2,700 was awarded to 12 students.
Taking home first place and $1000, were Ellis High School students Brody Fischer and Kamden Keller with Keller Lawn Mowing.
TMP students took home the remaining prizes.
Second place and $500 were awarded to Caden Becker with Star Garage Aid.
We were happy to discover third place was a tie! Prize money of $300 was awarded to Austin Gilbert and Caleb Marintzer with ACMG and also and Ainsleigh Bain and Haley Stecklein with The Coffee Spot.
Local businesses showed their support and awarded the following $200 prizes:
• Midwest Energy’s Best Trade Show – Anabelle Leach and Carlie Fischer with The Book Bean
• Sunflower Electric’s People’s Choice – Alejandra Robles and Kendall Walker with Wreck Room
• Nex-Generations’ Ready To Launch – Jaren Anschutz with High Tide Pressure Wash
Judges for the event were Network Kansas’ Sarah Larosh, Grabbe Law Office’s Julie Grabbe, Bank of Hays’ Brandon Prough, and Tree Top Security's Dallas Haselhorst.
James Robben, director of business development at Grow Hays, had this to say of the event, “I am very pleased with the outcome of the competition. All the students did a fantastic job at the event. They were ready and presented their business ideas very professionally. I hope to grow YEC next year and I'm excited to see how our winners do at state.”
The annual series culminates in the statewide championship Kansas Entrepreneur Challenge held at Kansas State University. The 2024 spring event will host the top students from each local competition. They will face off against each other for prize money and other honors.
The local winner, Keller Lawn Mowing, automatically qualifies for the statewide event. The Kansas Entrepreneur Challenge will accept wild card entries in early spring.
The Ellis County event is part of the 2023-2024 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series thanks to support from NetWork Kansas and the E-Community Partnership, the Kansas State University Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and is to promote entrepreneurship and small business development in Kansas. The local competition is also made possible via The Robert E. Schmidt Foundation. The competition is for student-created, managed, and owned ventures.
For more information on the Ellis County Youth Entrepreneur Competition, contact Grow Hays’ James Robben at 785-628-3102 or [email protected].