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McPherson College Selects Jump Start Kansas Finalists for Chance at $5,000

posted Feb 08, 2012 in ACADEMICS

McPherson College has named the 10 finalists in the first Jump Start Kansas competition, giving them the opportunity to receive a $5,000 grant to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas – like water bottles recycled from discarded steel or a non-profit to get sports equipment for students in need.

“We’ve been impressed with the applications we’ve received,” said Kori Gregg, executive director of entrepreneurship. “We’re looking forward to seeing how these young high school entrepreneurs do with an in-person pitch.”

The college announced Jump Start Kansas in November. The challenge will award two grand-prize grants of $5,000 to a Kansas high school student or team of students who present the best entrepreneurial idea – one in the area of commercial entrepreneurship and one for social entrepreneurship. What’s more, the grants come with no stipulation that the high school students attend McPherson College.

The 10 selected finalists will now present their ideas to a panel of area entrepreneurs and McPherson College faculty and staff in the hopes of winning the top prize. The pitches will begin at 10 a.m. in Mingenback Theatre on the McPherson College campus. Winners will be announced at noon along with a lunch (RSVP required). The public and media are invited to attend this event.

In addition to $5,000, the top winners will each be offered a $20,000, four-year scholarship to attend McPherson College. The other eight finalist will also receive a $4,000, four-year scholarship to the college, bringing the college’s total financial commitment to the competition to more than $100,000.

The challenge is part of the college’s "Freedom to Jump" entrepreneurship initiative, which officially launched in November last year. As the program has developed, McPherson College has given micro-grants of up to $500 to one out of every 10 students enrolled at McPherson College through the Horizon Fund. Also, for the last two years, the college has offered the Global Enterprise Challenge. In this competition, students are asked to come up with a sustainable solution to help those in a foreign country in just a few days – Haiti in 2010 and Panama in 2011. The winning teams receive scholarships and the opportunity to travel to the country and work on putting their ideas into effect. Also, this fall the college has offered a minor in “Transformative Entrepreneurship” for the first time, allowing students to make entrepreneurship a part of their degree, regardless of their major area of study.

The 10 finalists for McPherson College’s Jump Start Kansas competition are as follows:


  • SteelSalvation: Damien Gilbert and Colin Johnson, Wichita East High, Wichita. Steel Salvation proposes creating water bottles from recycled scrap steel.

  • Making Money Count: Brandon Elliott, Stafford High, Stafford. Making Money Count would be an online business marketing and social networking business.

  • Kalli Kat Editing: Kalliope Craft, Central Heights, Topeka. Kalli Kat Editing proposes a photo-editing business, turning basic family photos into works of art.

  • Limousine Service: Trenton Goering, McPherson High, McPherson. Goering proposes purchasing a limousine for a new business in the McPherson area serving individuals, families and businesses.

  • One Smart Cookie: Natalie Lash and Deshae Caldcleught, Wichita East, Wichita. One Smart Cookie is a tutoring business focusing on high school and junior high students in a relaxed café setting.


  • K.U.L.E. Alexandria Webb, Northeast Magnet, Wichita. K.U.L.E. (Kansas Urban Living Environment) is a program to help teenage girls learn marketable skills and work as a team, such as a business education aspect of the program.  

  • Kcteenlink Keenan Meadows, Joseph Belcher and Marcus Sheppard, F.L. Schlagle, Kansas City. is an easy to use and accessible website for teen to ask difficult personal questions and gain valuable information through music, video and games.

  • The Sports Locker Jonathan Reeder, Wichita Heights, Wichita. The Sports Locker plans to help students who cannot afford sports equipment and fees to participate in sports.

  • Second Chance Trina Durham, Wyandotte High, Kansas City. Second Chance is a non-profit aimed to help low-income youth that are at risk of entering juvenile detention and young adults that are out of foster care. The program aims to provide services to be self-sufficient and realize their potential.

  • Cloverleaf Kennels Sawyer Hambley, McPherson High, McPherson. Cloverleaf would be an animal rescue shelter for unwanted dogs needing long-term boarding in collaboration with the Humane Society and area veterinary clinics.

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