YEC – Youth Entrepreneurship challenge

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Grow Hays, in association with Network Kansas E-Community Partnership, hosted the first annual Ellis County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at BriefSpace in downtown Hays.  Twenty-nine students from Hays High School (HHS) and Thomas More Prep Marion (TMP) presented 22 business concepts.

Ellis County high school students were invited to register for the event, upload written executive summaries, create a “trade show booth” and give a 4-minute presentation to judges.  The students’ work was judged by Sarah LaRosh, Network Kansas Rural Entrepreneurial Manager, Western Region; Dr. David Snow, Director of Entrepreneurship at Fort Hays State University; and Errol Wuertz, a local Hays Masonic Lodge member and a realtor with Landmark Realty.

The winning business concepts were:

Midwest Energy – Best Trade Show award ($200):  Ethan Lang; Making Cents of Finance

Sunflower Electric Power Corporation – People’s Choice award ($200):   Ethan Lang; Making Cents of Finance

Nex-Tech – Ready to Launch award ($200):  Sydney Davis; Sydney’s Sweets

In addition to prizes and recognition, the first-place finisher automatically qualified to compete in the 2019 Statewide Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge on April 30 at Kansas State University in Manhattan. All other teams can apply for 15 wild card positions at that same event. The state event will include the winners of the other YEC events across the state. Dr. David Snow invited Ethan Lang to also participate in the Faulkner Challenge on March 30th at Fort Hays State University.

The goal of the YEC competition is to expose Kansas middle school and high school students to entrepreneurship and give them hands-on experience.

Ellis County’s YEC event was organized by Grow Hays with generous support from Fort Hays State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Midwest Energy, Nex-Tech, Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, Robert E. Schmidt Foundation and NetWork Kansas E-Community  Partnership.
For more information, contact Ernee Sly at (785) 628.3102 or  For more information about Network Kansas or the E-Community Partnership, visit