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Grow Hays is your partner in business success. Whether you are starting a new business, expanding an existing business, adding to your workforce, need to find financing, or just don’t know where to start on a problem, Grow Hays is here to assist.

Keller Lawn Mowing

Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge 2023

Grow Hays, Inc. hosted the Ellis County YEC, Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, on Tuesday, November 7th, at BriefSpace in downtown Hays. YEC is a competition to teach high school students about entrepreneurship. The local competition consisted of twenty-six students submitting a written executive summary (written business plan), a tradeshow booth, and a 4-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 $2700 was awarded to 12 students.


Taking home 1st Place and $1000, was Ellis High School students Brody Fischer and Kamden Keller with Keller Lawn Mowing.  TMP students took home the remaining prizes.  2nd Place and $500 was awarded to Caden Becker with Star Garage Aid. We were happy to discover 3rd 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 YEC 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 YEC series culminates in the statewide championship Kansas Entrepreneur Challenge (KEC) 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 KEC will accept wild card entries in early spring.


The Ellis County event is part of the 2023-2024 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) 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 james@growhays.com.


<2023 YEC Winners Press Release>

Housing Rehab program update

After much discussion with the Housing Rehab Committee, Dane G. Hansen Foundation Board of Trustees, Grow Hays Board Members and area realtors, the maximum selling price has been raised to $275,000.        

If you have any questions or would like more information on the Housing Rehab Program, please call Grow Hays at 785.628.3102

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