There’s still time for business-minded students to register for the Ford County Youth Entrepreneurship Competition for a chance to win more than $3,000 in prize money for their passion projects.

Middle- and high-school student competitors will walk away from the competition rich in the kind of experience true entrepreneurs live for, whether they move on to the state championship or not.

The local competition will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 11 at the Dodge City Community College Little Theater.

Winners will go on to compete at the state level in the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge on April 28 at Kansas State University.

This is the fourth year Dodge City has hosted the local competition, which is open to all seventh- through 12-grade students in Ford County.

It is sponsored by the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation in association with the Network Kansas E-Community Partnership.

Ford County is only one of many communities across the state to host a locally organized event designed to give students hands-on entrepreneurship experience, said Mollea Wainscott, special projects coordinator for the corporation.

Competitors must learn to deliver an elevator pitch for their upstart business, write an executive summary and deliver a formal presentation to a panel of local entrepreneurs, leaders and teachers.

“In addition to competing, the students will hear from several local entrepreneurs about their experiences with starting businesses,” Wainscott said. “We hope to spark interest and help students realize that entrepreneurship may be a valid career option for them.”

The competition is required for students enrolled in the youth entrepreneurs class at DCHS, said teacher Kristi Wherritt.

“I want each student to be able to show themselves through their information and business presentation,” she said.

So far, Wherritt said, 15 students have signed up to compete.

During the 2018-2019 season, 865 students competed in 40 local entrepreneurship competitions as part of the YEC series.

The 2019-2020 academic year marks the seventh annual YEC series coordinated by NetWork Kansas and the E-Community Partnership.

For more information, contact Wainscott at Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation at 620-371-3869 or housing@dodgedev.org.

For more information about NetWork Kansas or the E-Community Partnership, visit www.networkkansas.com.