Boom! YEC Students Brought Their A Game

Boom! YEC Students Brought Their A Game

Imagine the youthful energy and intensity of local high school students as they “pitched” their incredible business ideas during the 2021 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC). As a NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship Community, the McPherson Chamber of Commerce organized the YEC on December 15th as an opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship and community engagement.

Like the entrepreneurial-themed reality show “Shark Tank,” the YEC inspires students to dream bigger! The competition consisted of three parts, a detailed business plan called an executive summary, a tradeshow booth, and a 4-minute presentation. All three parts were evaluated and scored by a panel of judges.

It was evident that the students put considerable time and effort into their business proposals to achieve successful grades in Chris Strathman’s MHS Entrepreneurship Class, while also being motivated to bring their “A game” to the YEC competing for prize money and prestige!

“Their passion and creativity were evident in their business proposals and tradeshow booths, and their absolutely dynamic presentations just blew me away!” said Debbie Hawkinson, executive director of the McPherson Chamber. It is truly amazing to learn about their unique product and service ideas, and brilliant ways they would add more fun and adventure in McPherson. “Their huge smiles, confident strut, and comments like ‘crushed it!’ after their 4-minute business proposal is what it is all about” added Hawkinson.

The students competed against worthy opponents, their classmates, in a challenge that was extremely close. Top scores of the 2021 YEC are 1ST Place- Aligning Local Stars (Joshua Bocox); 2nd Place- Premier Healthcare (Sophia Herrera); 3rd Place- Delaney Designs (Courtney Delaney); and the People’s Choice Award went to Danny T’s (Daniel Valadez & Tyler Bontrager). Congratulations! We hope you will always have this drive and entrepreneurial mindset, and someday, we would love to help you launch your business in McPherson.

Special thank you to our YEC judges for their thoughtful comments and encouragement, and to our entrepreneur speaker, Katie Murray, nutrition coach and owner of The Locker Room Nutrition and Energy. Katie conveyed the importance of determination and commitment to doing the hard work, and valuing continued personal and professional development. Her enthusiasm and passion for building others up was a powerful and positive message.

Find out more about the McPherson County Entrepreneurship program administered by the McPherson Chamber of Commerce at or contact 620-241-3303.