Applications open for Lawrence-Douglas County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge

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Young entrepreneurs in Douglas County are invited to showcase their talents as part of a local business competition, and winners could earn between $500 and $1,250 in prize money.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge encourages middle and high schoolers to find their voices in business, according to a county news release. Through this competition, they are able to develop their own products or services as well as mold new ideas.

Douglas County is hosting this local competition as part of this year’s Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series through Venture Dash, an online entrepreneurship competition management platform. According to the VentureDash website, the series “gives Kansas students hands-on experience thinking entrepreneurially.”

“As a result of this competition, there may be an increased interest level in entrepreneurship among youth, leading students to see building their own business as a viable career path and a way to better their community,” the website said. 

Four components make up the competition, each equally weighing 25% of the total. Participants will write an executive summary, create an elevator pitch, give a formal presentation and participate in a trade show in which judges will visit their individual booths. Read the descriptions and requirements for each component at this link.

Students’ work will be judged by local entrepreneurs, teachers and community leaders, according to the county news release.

The first-place winner will also receive $1,250, according to a post on the Eudora Schools Facebook page. The second-place winner will receive $750 in prize money, third place will receive $500, and someone will be chosen for the People’s Choice Award and also receive $500. The teacher of the first-place winner will also receive $250.

In addition to a monetary prize, the student selected for first place will have the opportunity to enter a statewide competition to earn more prize money and honors, according to the county’s news release.

The 2020 and 2021 competitions were held online via Zoom, according to county spokesperson Karrey Britt, so organizers are looking forward to being back in person.

The deadline for students to submit a business application for the 2023 Lawrence-Douglas County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is Friday, Feb. 10. This date was postponed from an earlier date, according to the VentureDash website.

Entry is free, and those interested can apply at this link. Since the competition is through VentureDash, applicants will first be asked to make a VentureDash account or log in to an existing account and then will be directed to the application.

The competition day is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 24 at the Dwayne Peaslee Technical Training Center, 2920 Haskell Ave., Suite 100, in Lawrence. Trade show setup will begin at 8 a.m. followed by the competition and judging starting at 9 a.m. With the awards ceremony to close out the day, the estimated end time is 1 p.m.

Read more about the competition at this link. For additional questions, email Assistant County Administrator Jill Jolicoeur at

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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