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Barton County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge 2021

February 23, 2021


GREAT BEND, KS – The public is invited to attend the first county-wide Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge slated for Thursday, March 4th, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at the Great Bend Event Center, 3111 10th Street, Great Bend. In partnership with NetWork Kansas, the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Great Bend Economic Development are hosting this event featuring Barton County high school students and their unique and creative business ideas.

A special ribbon cutting will kick-off the annual event at 11:30 a.m. followed by a 90-minutes tradeshow showcasing each of the competitor's businesses. During this tradeshow, students can be found at their booth displaying their business idea for the judges and public to see. The public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite business to be awarded the People’s Choice Award.

Judges will be scoring the participants on three criteria:

· Business Executive Summary

· Four-minute presentation

· Tabletop display

Cash prizes for top competitors include:

· $1,000 – First place

· $750 – Second place

· $500 – Third place

· $250 – People’s Choice

"Fostering an entrepreneur spirit at a young age is so important as we look ahead to our future, and this challenge, created by NetWork Kansas, who does a wonderful job of encouraging creativity, collaboration and realistic business expectations.

Not only is this challenge a key factor in creating the next generation of entrepreneurs, but also it encourages our business community to come together to mentor and rally behind our student population," said Great Bend Economic Development President, Sara Hayden.

"To help the community with the concept of the event, we've likened it to the TV show, Shark Tank - it combines the live entertainment factor as well as presenting thought provoking, new ideas with expert "investors" (judges). The challenge will provide high school students the opportunity to experience real world scenarios when pitching ideas, concepts, and in this case, an entire business plan.”

Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President, Megan Barfield says she and Hayden both talk with new business owners continuously. “They don’t always have the puzzle pieces all connected and that’s where we come in!

We’re doing the same for these high schoolers and connecting them with resources such as business plan templates, finance, and start-up cost examples, and probably more impactful, mentors in the business community.”

Barton County residents and businesses are encouraged to attend the tradeshow on March 4th to provide support and encouragement. Hayden says, “These students have worked so hard and have come up with some great ideas, now they just need the audience to come cheer them on and show support!”

As a NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship Community (E-Community), Great Bend has made a commitment to cultivating an entrepreneurial environment by identifying and developing resources to help local entrepreneurs start or grow businesses. “Being an E-Community affords our start-ups and local business owners the access to many resources and programs, including the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. The support provided by NetWork Kansas is invaluable and we are grateful to be one of 66 E-Communities,” said Megan Barfield.

To learn more about the Barton County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, please contact Sara Hayden (Great Bend Economic Development) at (620) 796-2407 or Megan Barfield (Great Bend Chamber of Commerce) at (620) 792-2401. To learn more about NetWork Kansas, visit

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