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Topeka and Shawnee County To Host Student Entrepreneurship Competition on February 22


Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge

Image caption: Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge

Junior Achievement of Kansas, in association with the Network Kansas E-Community Partnership, announces the Topeka and Shawnee County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge will take place in Topeka on February 22, as part of the 2021-2022 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) series. The competition will be held from 3-6 pm on Tuesday, February 22 at the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center on Washburn University’s campus. The goal of the competition is to expose Kansas middle school and high school students to entrepreneurship.

Students will be judged from 3-4:30 pm and then the tabletop displays with students will be open to the public from 4:30 – 6 pm. At 6 pm the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be announced and we would welcome the public to stay for those awards and to congratulate the winners.

“Topeka and Shawnee County has enjoyed a renewed sense of community in the last several years,” said Ashley Charest, President, Junior Achievement of Kansas. “We have seen small businesses grow and flourish in the capitol city and we must show our middle and high school students that they can also take their entrepreneurial ideas and succeed right in their hometown.”

Topeka and Shawnee County is one of many communities across Kansas to host a locally organized event designed to give students a hands-on entrepreneurship experience. The competition will consist of students preparing a written business plan or executive summary, a “tradeshow” booth, and a 4-minute pitch presentation. The students will be competing against each other for prize money, a spot at the state challenge event, plus a scholarship to Washburn University. The students’ work will be judged by local entrepreneurs, public sector partners, and community volunteers. This is the 2nd time Topeka and Shawnee County has brought this competition to their community with the inaugural event taking place in 2019.

“The YEC Series helps students learn valuable life skills such as creative problem solving and confidently presenting their ideas to others. The classroom learning and mentorship they receive in preparation of competing in their local YEC Series event can also help students feel more connected to their communities, and help them identify a need they could fill in their own city or county,” says Amara Kniep, Product Manager, E-Community Programs.

During the 2020-2021 season, 898 students from 47 communities hosted 44 local entrepreneurship competitions as part of the YEC series. The 2021-2022 academic year marks the ninth annual YEC Series coordinated by NetWork Kansas and the E-Community Partnership.

The annual YEC series culminates in a statewide championship, where the top students from each local competition face off against each other for prize money and other honors. The 2022 statewide championship will be held, April 28 at Kansas State University.

For more information, contact Ashley Charest, Junior Achievement of Kansas at (785) 235-3700 or

For more information about NetWork Kansas or the E-Community Partnership, visit

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