Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge
** Thousands in Cash Prizes to Student Entrepreneurs! **
The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge (KEC) is sponsored by the Kansas Masonic Foundation and Kansas Masons in partnership with Kansas State University and the Network Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) Series to promote entrepreneurship and small business development in Kansas. The competition is for student created, managed, and owned ventures.
Click HERE to register if you are a local YEC event WINNER who automatically qualifies.
Click HERE to register if you are wanting to compete for a Wildcard/Open Review spot to compete in the 2021 KEC.
Click HERE to register if in the University division.
2021 KEC Competitor Guide
Students must be enrolled in a Kansas middle school, high school, high school equivalent, or University during the semester the competition is held. Students must compete in the division associated with their current education-level. The concept and venture must demonstrate student management and ownership. Teams must have a teacher or sanctioned event organizer that will authenticate that the venture concept and executive summary are the student team’s original work.
Individuals or teams of no more than four students may submit a concept. No person can be a member of more than one team. Teams must present in-person or virtually at the KEC finals. Team members who do not present at the KEC finals will not receive prize money.
The KEC is for independent student-run ventures. Concepts must be the original work of the students who comprise the team. For-profit and not-for-profit entities are eligible. Generally excluded from entry are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, and licensing agreements for distribution in the local market. The licensing of technologies or commercialization of research that is not the original work of the student team is prohibited.
Confidentiality and Intellectual Property
All submitted information is deemed the property of the participating teams and any licensors. Competition judges and staff do not sign non-disclosure agreements. Teams are strongly encouraged to not provide any specifics or details that are considered to be intellectual property.
Conflict of Interest Statement
No judge, volunteer, or competition staff member may have any vested interest, equity stake, or financial stake in any of the finalist companies. Any of the previously listed parties that stand to gain financially or otherwise from the success of any finalist company is strictly prohibited. Any such associations will result in disqualification of the team and/or removal of that individual from his or her associated position with the competition.
Spirit of the Competition
The spirit of the KEC is that current middle school, high school and university students originate, found, and lead the startup idea. Teams not aligned with this vision or not working towards this end may be disqualified (e.g. an existing company run by non-students cannot recruit students only to become eligible for the competition). The KEC staff reserves the right to review companies on a case-by-case basis and make eligibility decisions. Teams that are unsure of their eligibility should contact the KEC staff. The licensing of technologies or commercialization of research that is not the original work of the student team is prohibited. Competitors who promote illegal, illicit, unethical, immoral, or other types of activities, which may be considered unworthy of association with the KEC, may be disqualified.
High School Division
- Local Event Winner: The top team from each NetWork Kansas YEC Series or Kansas Masons sanctioned event automatically qualifies. If the top team is not able to participate, the event organizers may send an alternate team to the KEC. Teams must submit a three-page executive summary & video pitch of their concept through the KEC website. March 26th is the application deadline.
- Open Review Entry: Up to 15 teams may also be selected for the KEC through the Executive Summary Open Review. Teams can apply for the Executive Summary Open Review by submitting a three-page executive summary & video pitch of their concept through the Open Review/Wildcard Event Portal. March 19th is the application deadline.
- Board of Regents: Each invited University is eligible to send two teams to the KEC finals. Universities will determine their representative teams. These teams must submit a three-page executive summary and video pitch of their concept through the KEC website. March 26th is the application deadline.
All submitted work must be the original work of the team members. Any submission that does not meet these requirements will be eliminated.
- All submissions are required to include an executive summary.
- Executive summaries format requirements:
- No longer than three pages
- At least 10 point font
- At least .75” margins on all four sides
- Must be submitted in PDF form
- All submissions are required to include a video pitch.
- Video pitch should be a minimum length of 90 seconds with a maximum length of three minutes. Video pitches should not exceed the three minute time limit.
- Details will be released when the event portal is live. Stay tuned!
- March 19th - Submission deadline for Wildcard/Open Review entries
- March 26th - Submission deadline for High School Division and University Division
- April 9th – Announcement of High School Division finalists to compete in Mock Board Room
- April 27th, 2021 – Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge
- Virtual Mock Board Room for finalists
Please note: All submission deadlines are final. Late applications cannot be accepted and deadline extensions cannot be granted for any reason. The KEC staff encourages each team to submit requirements early so that any technical difficulties can be resolved before the deadline. All submissions are due by 5 p.m. (CST) on the due date.
Each component of the competition will be scored using a simplified scoring system where judges will score the components according to a rubric.
Executive Summary & Video Pitch (to be scored by judges prior to competition day)
The Executive Summary & Video Pitch will be scored by judges prior to the competition day. Judges will take the following into consideration when assigning ratings:
- Market Opportunity – Clear market need presented, with the ability & plan to capture it
- Management Capability – Founder / team demonstrates ability to effectively grow company
- Business Model – viability to grow a profitable business
- Product / Service Offering – customer focused solution with a clear value proposition
Mock Board Room (only High School Division finalists assessed on competition day)
Successful entrepreneurs are adaptable, critical thinkers, and creative problem-solvers. The format of the Mock Board Room is designed to help teach and reward these skills in aspiring entrepreneurs. Based on a review of the executive summary and video pitch, KEC judges and staff will provide a list of questions to the participants designed to reflect the real-world challenges and decision-making requirements of entrepreneurs. During the Mock Board Room, the students will have time with KEC judges within to answer these questions and any additional follow-up questions asked by the judges.
- The Mock Board Room is closed to the public.
- Time begins when the presenter begins speaking.
- Teams are not allowed to use a slide presentation (ex. PowerPoint). Prototypes, props, index cards, etc. are allowed.
- Presenters will be able to reserve a time slot on a first come, first serve basis once finalists are announced. The scheduling link will be provided in announcement email to finalists.
- There will be no guarantee of confidentiality. Presenters are encouraged to avoid speaking about topics or items that should remain confidential.
Mock Board Room Scoring
Judges will take the following into consideration when assigning ratings:
- Entrepreneurial Characteristics
- Realistic – answers were feasible, realistic and aligned with company’s means
- Justification – ample justification given using quality data, analysis, and critical thinking
- Specificity – responses were specific, detailed, and action-oriented
- Originality – solutions were creative and original
Cash prizes for the KEC will be awarded and paid to the legal entity where one exists. If no entity exists then the prizes will be awarded to individual student team members in proportion to the capitalization table or proposed capitalization table submitted. If no capitalization table exists, prize money will be split equally between student team members. Cash prizes will not be paid at any time to non-students outside of an entity. If a non-student holds an equity position as indicated on a capitalization table where there is no entity present, the cash prize will be paid on a pro-rata basis to only the student members listed on the capitalization table. Prize awards may be subject to taxation and are the sole responsibility of the entity or person to whom the awards are distributed. Each entity or individual will be required to provide a W-9 and photo release form before receiving any prizes.
- $20,000 total
- $10,000 total