NetWork Kansas to Host Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Events April 29 & May 6, 2015

Wichita, Kansas, April 1, 2015 — NetWork Kansas‘ second annual Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge series will bring together students from across northwest Kansas and southeast Kansas to compete for more than $10,000 in total prize money on April 29 in Columbus, KS and May 6 in Leoti, KS. The Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge features a business plan tradeshow, elevator pitches, and formal business presentations.

Guest speakers will showcase notable young entrepreneurs: Mike Bosch, CEO of Reflective Group and Pipeline Fellow; Zach Haney, CEO of Carnival Guy and named one of America’s top young entrepreneurs.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is an innovative entrepreneurship battle that highlights entrepreneurship as a viable career path for students and facilitates learning and fun.

After competing in one of eleven local-level competitions held in the two qualifying regions, students can apply to advance to this regional showcase.

The Northwest Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is open to students in grades 7-12 who live in a northwest Kansas Entrepreneurship (E-) Community who have participated in one of seven qualifying local competitions held in Bird City, Phillips County, Rawlins County, Sherman County, Thomas County, and Wichita County between February and April. Northwest Kansas E-Communities include: Bird City, Ellis County, Greeley County, Phillips County, Norton County, Rawlins County, Scott County, Sherman County, Thomas County, and Wichita County.

The Southeast Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is open to students in grades 7-12 who live in a southeast Kansas Entrepreneurship Community who have participated in one of four qualifying local competitions held in Altamont, Cherokee County, Girard, and Humboldt. Southeast Kansas E-Communities include: Altamont, Anderson County, Chautauqua County, Cherokee County, Coffeyville, Girard, Humboldt, Linn County, and Northern Montgomery County.

The competition is hosted by NetWork Kansas as part of their 48-community E-Community Partnership. The E-Community Partnership is dedicated to increasing entrepreneurial activity and developing self-sustaining ecosystems favorable to long-term entrepreneurial growth. NetWork KansasAT&T, Joplin Regional PartnershipColumbus Telephone & Optic CommunicationsMidwest EnergyWheatland Electric/Wheatland Broadband, Sunflower Electric, and The Bank are proud sponsors of the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

All participants will display a business plan booth, present their entrepreneurship idea to judges, and participate in elevator pitches. Students who advance to the final round will present their business plan in a formal presentation to a panel of judges and the audience. A total of $5,000 in prize money will be awarded at each event, including $2,500 for first place, $1,250 for second place, and $750 for third place, and other awards.

Opportunities still exist for businesses to sponsor the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Interested businesses or organizations should contact Anne Dewvall at

For more information, contact Anne Dewvall at or visit:

Inaugural Project 17 Core Group Appointments

Manufacturing Chautauqua Carmen Coleman– Economy Manufacturing
Manufacturing Montgomery Jerry Atkinson– Spears Manufacturing
Agribusiness Allen Debbie Bearden– Allen County Farm Bureau
(Law, Insurance, Etc.)
Bourbon/Region Robert Uhler– Southwestern Association
Capital Community
Regional Bruce Fairbank– Labette Bank
Utilities/Energy Elk/Region David Whetstone– Westar
Hospitals/Health Care Crawford/Region Mary Beth Warren– KU Medical Center
K-12 Education Greenwood Randy Corns– USD 389- Eureka Superintendent
Higher Education Labette George Knox– President, Labette Comm. College
Public Sector
(City/Co. Mangt.)
Crawford Darron Hall– Pittsburg City Manager
Ambassador Crawford/Region Dick Horton– SEK-CAP
Ambassador Labette Kari West– City of Parsons,
Community Development/PIO
Ambassador Montgomery Jim Correll– Successful Entrepreneur Program
at Independence Community College


Health Team Members -2012

Randy Cason
President / CEO – Via Christi Hospital Pittsburg, Inc.

Brian Caswell
President/Pharmacist – Wolkar Drug

Francie Currie
Owner – Currie Co.

Dennis George (Convener)
CEO – Associated Purchasing Services

Economic Development Team Members – 2012

Blake Benson
President – Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce

Yvonne Hull (Convener)
Executive Director – Coffeyville Area Chamber of Commerce

Janet McRae
Economic Development Director – Miami County

David Toland
Executive Director – Thrive

Jeff Tucker
Associate Director – Technology Development Institute