1. K-State home
  2. »College of Business Administration
  3. »Academics
  4. »Departments and Centers
  5. »Center for Advancement of Entrepreneurship
  6. »K-State Launch

College of Business Administration

College of Business Administration

Student Success Center
1001 Business Building
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506

Dean's Office
2019 Business Building
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506

K-State Launch

2017 Launch

Launch is an entrepreneurial idea competition for K-State students with new venture ideas. The competition is open to all K-State undergraduate and graduate students or teams from all majors.

Register for Spring 2020 K-State Launch

Spring 2020 Launch Competitor Guide  

Contest Policies

Students must be enrolled at Kansas State University during the semester the competition is held. The concept and venture must demonstrate student management and ownership. Individuals or teams of no more than four students may submit a concept. Teams selected as finalists for Launch event must present in-person.

Launch is a twice a year event 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. No person can be a member of more than one team. Teams entering Launch with same idea that they presented in a previous Launch competition must demonstrate how the business has advanced since the last competition.

Please note: All submission deadlines are final. Late applications cannot be accepted and deadline extensions cannot be granted for any reason. The Launch staff encourages each team to submit requirements early so that any technical difficulties can be resolved before the deadline. All submissions are due by 11:59pm (CST) on the due date.

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. There will be no penalty in judging when a question or issue is not fully addressed because of concerns over confidentiality.

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 Launch is that 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 Launch 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 Launch 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 Launch, may be disqualified.

How to Qualify

  • All undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in Kansas State University during the semester of the competition are eligible to enter.

  • Students (or teams) simply register for the competition at: ksu.edu/launch and submit an executive summary of their concept by the due date. Teams selected as finalists will be notified.

Competition Divisions

Teams will compete in divisions as described below.  If teams are considered eligible for multiple divisions, the division listed first in the order below will be the assigned division.  For example, a team with an agricultural technology business will compete in the Global Food Systems division.  Teams will indicate their anticipated division on their submission form, but Launch staff reserves the right to review division assignments on a case-by-case basis and make eligibility decisions.  Launch staff reserves the right to remove or add divisions in order to insure parity among divisions.

  • Global Food Systems - Entries related to food and/or beverage products, food technologies in manufacturing, materials and ingredients technologies, food safety, animal health, and farming. Innovative ideas that can fit into the "farm to fork" lifecycle.

  • Open - All other entries that meet the eligibility requirements will compete in the Open Division. 

Submission Requirements

  • 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 summary 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 format

Key Dates

  • March 20 – Submission deadline for entries
  • March 30 – All finalists announced
  • April 3 – Release of judges' questions to finalists
  • April 7 – Day of Launch event

Workshop Dates (Encouraged but not required):
In the spirit of empowering students of all majors and disciplines from across campus to launch their business idea, the Launch faculty and staff will be hosting a workshop that discusses the components of the Executive Summary in a crash course format. The Launch staff has different dates and times available for this workshop in attempt to cater to differing schedules. The workshops will take place in the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship in 1056 in the Business Building on the following dates and times:

  • To Be Determined.

Please note: All submission deadlines are final. Late applications cannot be accepted and deadline extensions cannot be granted for any reason. The Launch staff encourages each team to submit requirements early so that any technical difficulties can be resolved before the deadline. All submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. (CST) on the due date.

Competition Format

Mock Board Room
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, Launch 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 12 minutes with Launch judges to answer these questions and any additional follow-up questions asked by the judges.

  • The Mock Board Room is closed to the public. Teams will be allowed to bring one fan into the Mock Board Room, but the fan may not participate (ex. asking or answering questions, clarifying, etc.)
  • 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. Any supporting material must be easily removed from the room within two minutes.
  • Presenter must be physically present and give the presentation live and in person. Teams must be present to claim prizes.
  • Presenters are scheduled to present in random order. A list with the presentation order will be generated the day of the event.
  • 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 use the following criteria and weighting to guide their scoring. All judges' decisions are final.

  • 20% - Executive Summary – to be scored by judges prior to competition day
    • 10% - Business Model – viability to grow a profitable business
    • 10% - Product / Service Offering – customer focused solution with a clear value proposition
  • 80% - Entrepreneurial Characteristics – assessed through answers to questions on competition day
    • 20% - Realistic – answers were feasible, realistic and aligned with company's means
    • 20% - Justification – ample justification given using quality data, analysis, and critical thinking
    • 20% - Specificity – responses were specific, detailed, and action-oriented
    • 20% - Originality – solutions were creative and original


Cash prizes for the Launch 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. 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 prorated basis to only the student members listed on the capitalization table. If no capitalization table exists, prize money will be split equally between student team members. Prize awards may be subject to taxation and are the sole responsibility of the entity or person(s) to whom the awards are distributed. Each entity or individual(s) will be required to provide a W-9 before receiving any prizes.

Global Food Systems Division
  • First Place - $2,500
  • Second Place  - $2,000
  • Third Place  - $1,500
  • Honorable Mention  - $1,000
  • All Other Competing Global Food Systems Finalists (x6) - $500
Open Division
  • First Place - $2,500
  • Second Place  - $2,000
  • Third Place  - $1,500
  • Honorable Mention  - $1,000
  • All Other Competing Open Finalists (x6) - $500

Alongside the cash prize, one of the winning teams will be chosen by the Launch judges and staff to represent K-State at KEC on April 30th, 2019. This team will be announced at the award ceremony. 


Previous Winners

Fall 2018

  • First Place: Paul Baker and Malik Bierberle– Squire Gaming
  • Honorable Mentions:
    • Dylan Roney – Pet Potty Patch
    • Dustin Aherin – CattleList

Spring 2018

  • First Place: Chris Zachary – Iris
  • Second Place: Dylan Roney – Potty Patch
  • Third Place: Chelsea Werdel – Genie in a Bottle
  • Honorable Mentions:
    • Cody Hanna, Shiloh Murray and Valeria Saenz – Victory Pyrotechnic
    • Dietra Sober and Mikala Bradbury – Wonderfully Made
    • Brooke Montgomery, Morgan Meadows and Grant Giardino – Health Hut

Fall 2017

  • First Place: Austin Chauncey and Melanie Wertzberger – AdviseMe
  • Second Place: Laura Rozell and Sam Rozell – Ido Watch
  • Third Place: Chelsea Werdel – Genie in a Bottle Salon Management Consulting Firm
  • Honorable Mentions:
    • Nelson Ramello – The Bison Agrotech
    • Garrett Wilkinson and Nick Bouzianis – Chakula Utoali
    • Abdullah Choudhry – Vented and Vetted Solutions

Fall 2016

  • Tyler O'Briant and Sam Rozell - Eyas
  • Rebecca Keating - Rekreative Design
  • Caitlyn Maloney and Alicia Maloney - CowTrax
  • Austin Pfannenstiel - MHK Solar
  • Blake Benton - The Bridge

Fall 2015

  • Ben Jackson and Harrison Proffitt - Bungii
  • David Weidmaier, Drew Wills, Savannah Stewart and Larisa Sica - EnviroStarch
  • Jordan Thomas and MacKenzie Wade - Edimorphosis
  • Jane Chaffee and Morgan Dreiling - {Re}Greek
  • Gabe Battis and Taylor Carr - Flyover Board Co.
  • Alex Bentzinger - Bentz Creative

Spring 2015

  • 1st Place: Jordan DeLoach - Twitistics
  • 2nd Place: Collin Clifford - hello! Language Learning
  • 3rd Place: Miranda Burns - Amazing Lace Bridal


  • Josh Mais, Industrial Engineering, Kansas City Spaces


(1st place tie)

  • Lars Hanson, Entrepreneurship, Breakout Sports Performance
  • David Tierney, Chemistry, Kansas Biodiesel Project


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


Chad Jackson, director
e. cjackson@k-state.edu

Subscribe to our mailing list