2023 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge
The McPherson Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) on December 13th. Paul Reichenberger’s high school entrepreneurship students started arriving at the Community Building around 8:30, dressed professionally and trying to settle their nerves before a morning spent presenting their proposed businesses to judges and the public.
Having already submitted their executive summaries to the judges for evaluation, that morning the students each gave a 4-minute presentation to the judges and had a trade show booth where they discussed their proposed business and answered questions from judges and the public.
As a Network Kansas Entrepreneurship Community, the McPherson Chamber of Commerce organizes YEC each year as an opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship and community engagement. The first place winner of McPherson’s competition goes on to the state competition in the spring. Ciara Miller of Network Kansas told the students that there will be approximately 70 businesses competing at the state event, also judged on the similar criteria: 1) executive summary, 2) presentation (which will be shortened to an elevator pitch with Q&A in a mock board room), and 3) trade show. Students or teams who did not come in first can choose to submit as wildcard applicants with the potential of being chosen to move on to state.
This year, the first place winners were Jett Pyle and Cade Strathman, who presented Envisionsellskicks, an existing business that buys, refurbishes, and sells used high-end sneakers. Taking second place was Alix Wilson, whose proposed business was Pics and Clips Sports, a photography and videography sole proprietorship with a niche in sporting events. In third place was Keiry Santillian with Clean Clarity, a proposed skin care line focused on clean, effective, affordable products for young adults. Santillian also won the Peoples Choice award, voted on by the public. Eleven students with a total of eight businesses participated in the challenge on December 13th.
The competition concluded with lunch, the awards presentation, and an inspiring speech by entrepreneur and YEC judge Ben Coffey, owner of The Ark Antiques and Flea Market.
Thank you to all the judges who gave their time and thoughtful consideration in this endeavor and to the community members who showed their support by visiting the trade show and interacting with the student entrepreneurs at their booths.
See photos of the students with their booths as well as the winning participants on our Facebook page.