Ladies Lead the Way at YEC 2017 in Wichita County

16 Mar 2017


Four teams of talented young women presented their business ideas to six different judges on Thursday, February 23 at Wichita County High School during the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge 2017.  A partnership with Wichita County Economic Development, Greeley County Community Development and NetWork Kansas, the Wichita County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is in its 4th year. “I’m so pleased with the level of competition and leadership the teams brought to the table this year.“ YEC Coordinator and WCED Director Diana Kirk said of the competition, “All of the teams worked hard on their business ideas. I was pleased because they chose business ideas they were excited and passionate about.”

The competition was a combination of three separate events: an Executive Summary, which is a written overview of a business; a Tradeshow Display and an Elevator Pitch in which the teams have a limited amount of time to pitch their idea to a panel of judges, then answer any questions the judges might have. Teams earned points from each event and the overall winner was the one with the most points.

The winner for 2017 was Heart to Heart Home Health Care by Abbie Ridder and Abbey Fischer. The two teamed up to put together their tradeshow display and write their Executive Summary, and Ridder was on her own the day of competition. Abbey Fischer was in attendance at the state KMEA competition. Ridder and Fischer will split the grand prize of $600 and have the opportunity to compete at the state Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on April 24 at Fort Hays State University. The state competition will feature students from the 22 E-Communities across the state and students will vie for more than $11,000 in cash prizes.

Coming in second place and winning $500 was The Brew, a coffee shop idea pitched by Kelsie Conard and Kenzie Bangerter. Their idea is to bring a place for people to get a quality cup of coffee and have a place to hang out and spend some time.

Third prize and $400 went to Froyla Castillo and Froy Froy’s, a drop in daycare. “There’s a big need for daycare in Leoti and I love kids, so it was an easy idea to come up with.” Castillo said about her project.

Rounding out the competition in 4th place and a cash prize of $300 was Abbie Nickelson and South Paw, a store that exclusively sells items for left-handed people. Nickelson said that she was inspired by her brother to start a business like this. Both left-handed, she wanted to have a place to sell items that lefties could use with ease, like notebooks and spaghetti scoops.

YEC was a culmination of a week of classroom instruction followed by weekly consultations with Kirk. “The students put in a lot of time and work to their projects. I’m very proud of what they accomplished. Any of these businesses could succeed. I hope we can get more students interested and participating.”

The date for YEC 2018 has not yet been set. The competition will be open to students in grades 7-12. For more information, contact Diana Kirk at Wichita County Economic Development at (620)375-2182 or