TOPEKA (KSNT) – Junior Achievement of Kansas and the Network Kansas E-Community Partnership held the Topeka and Shawnee County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Thursday at the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center on Washburn University’s campus.

“Junior Achievement organizes this event and NetWork Kansas through the Shawnee County E-Community provides the prizes,” Gary Satter said with the Shawnee E-Community, NetWork Kansas. “They all had to provide a business plan that was judged and they all have their tabletop displays and they all did a pitch contest, they were judged on each of those.”

The goal of the competition is to expose Kansas middle school and high school students to entrepreneurship. The students were judged on their presentations, written business plans and tabletop displays.

“Topeka, and Shawnee County, has enjoyed a renewed sense of community in the last several years,” Jill Griego said, the statewide board chair for Junior Achievement of Kansas. “We have seen small businesses grow and flourish in the Capital City. We must show our middle and high school students that they can also take their entrepreneurial ideas and succeed right in their hometown.”

First place went to Marcus Prochaska, a student at Washburn Rural Middle School. His business was Prochaska Pressure Washing. He won a $1,500 prize and a $1,000 scholarship to Washburn University School of Business.

Second place went to a group of Topeka High students. T’Karah Lucas, Alyssa Hannigan, Ju’Lyssa Juarez and Viviana Calderon Sosa make up the Trojan Union. It sells water bottles, koozies, and more with THS logos. The group won a $1,250 prize.

Third place was Shawnee Heights Middle School, JJ Doby. His business idea was JJ’s Basketball Academy. He won a $750 prize.

NetWork Kansas was established by the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 as the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship, NetWork Kansas became operational at the beginning of the 2006 fiscal year. The NetWork Kansas portal is available statewide and currently enables entrepreneurs and small business owners to connect with 500+ NetWork Kansas partners throughout the state.

Junior Achievement (JA) of Kansas inspires and prepares young people with the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. Collaborating with the business and educational community, JA of Kansas provides relevant, hands-on experiences that give students knowledge and skills based on the three pillars of financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. JA of Kansas serves over 28,000 students statewide. Click here to learn more about JA of Kansas.