Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship

The Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship was founded in 2008 with the mission of promoting entrepreneurship among all academic disciplines at Kansas State University. Our award-winning entrepreneurship center offers academic and non-academic experiences to Kansas State students in all majors and years. Willie Entrepreneur


Start-up Cats

K-State Launch: is your Idea The NEXT Big Thing? 

Started in 2010 The NEXT Big Thing, now K-State Launch, is an annual entrepreneurship idea competition that awards more than $20,000 in prize money. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students in the K-State Manhattan campus. 

Venture Accelerator

The Venture Accelerator is located at 914 and 918 N. Manhattan Avenue directly across from the K-State campus.

Venture Incubator

Provides business services and space to promising student ventures in the early development stages. The Incubator is designed to take learning beyond the walls of the classroom and allows students to combine their knowledge and passion to create businesses. It supports traditional, social, and corporate entrepreneurial ventures, and it is open to students from all majors, and focuses on closing the gap between writing business plans and venture launch. 

Wildcat Venture Fund

All K-State students have the opportunity to start their new venture in the Venture Accelerator with funding from the Wildcat Venture Fund, which is fully managed by investment management students.

Investment management students conduct due diligence, analysis, and make investment recommendations on student businesses applying for funding and space in the Venture Accelerator. These students will also be responsible for helping student entrepreneurs create the financial portion of their business plans, work with entrepreneurs to help grow their businesses, and provide other venture capital related functions such as bringing in accounting, marketing, and management expertise (other students) as necessary. A board of K-State linked venture capitalists provide oversight.

K-State LAB

The K-State College of Business Administration, through the generous support of KS State Bank, offers a new venture support program called K-State Launch a Business (LAB). The LAB program will make world-class K-State faculty, students, and alumni support available to up to 10 high-potential startup concepts over an intensive 5 week period. 


Faculty and Staff

Chad Jackson: Director, instructor

Advisory Board

  • Lee Borck, Innovative Livestock Services, Inc.
  • Lyle Butler, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Bob Debruyn, Master Teacher
  • Dave Dreiling, GTM Sportswear
  • Chris Fox, Fox Home Innovations
  • Kent Glasscock, Kansas State University - IC
  • Eric Higgins, Kansas State University
  • Phil Howe, Kansas State Bank
  • Walt Lane, Netstandard
  • Kevin Lockett, UEP
  • Janice Marks, Varney and Associates
  • Earl McVicker, Central Bank and Trust Co.
  • Christopher Miller, Gammon Miller LLC
  • Ward Morgan, CivicPlus
  • Amy Renz, Kansas State Alumni Association
  • Toby Rush, EyeVerify
  • Bill Sanford, Symark, LLC
  • Kylie Stupka, Youth Entrepreneurs
  • Bill Trenkle, Foulston Siefkin
  • Jack Vanier, CK Ranch
  • Karin Westman, Kansas State University

K-State Launch Winners

2014 Winner

  • Josh Mais, Industrial Engineering '14;  Kansas City Spaces

2013 Winners (1st Place Tie)

  • Lars Hanson, BAPP '15; Breakout Sports Performance (1st place tie)
  • David Tierney, Chemistry '13: Kansas Biodiesel Project

2012 Winners

  • Social Enterprise Division - Rafiki Bags Co.: Kaitlin Long, Logan Gauby
  • Undergraduate Division - Enviro Feed Bunks: David Heideman, Caleb Wurth, Britni Beck, Grace Bokelman
  • Graduate Division - Chef Shannon: Shannon Underwood

Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

Alumnus Entrepreneur of the Year

2014 - Phil Howe, KS State Bank
2013 - Cody Sudmeier, Agility Solutions
2012 - Jon Darbyshire, Archer Foundation
2011 - Dave Dreiling, GTM Sportswear
2010 - Bill Sanford, Symark, LLC

Community Entrepreneur of the Year

2014 - Ward Morgan, CivicPlus
2013 - Aaron McGee, Purple Wave Auction
2012 - Julie Haynes, Taco Lucha
2011 - Jack Goldstein, Manhattan Steel & Pipe
2010 - Pat Keating, Keating & Associates
2009 - Mark Knackendafel, Manhattan Trust Company

Chad Jackson, Director

309 Calvin Hall


Chad Jackson
Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship, Interim Director
311 Calvin Hall