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McPherson College Offers More Than $80,000 in Prizes For Kansas High School Entrepreneurs in Second 'Jump Start Kansas'

posted Jan 11, 2013 in ACADEMICS

McPherson College’s Jump Start Kansas is returning for the second year in a row - putting more than $80,000 in grants and scholarships on the line to motivate and develop high school entrepreneurs in Kansas.

Every year, Jump Start Kansas - created and hosted by McPherson College - awards two grand-prize grants of $5,000 to a Kansas high school student or team of students who present the best entrepreneurial idea – one grant 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.

In addition, the grand prize winners will receive a $20,000 scholarship to McPherson College across four years. All students for the remaining eight finalist ideas will be offered a $4,000, four-year scholarship to attend McPherson College.

Students can enter with their ideas between now and Jan. 28 at

Finalists last year included Steel Salvation - a business creating water bottles from recycled steel; KcTeenLink - an online resource for advice and arts collaboration for Kansas City teens; One Smart Cookie - a tutoring business in a relaxed café setting; and The Sports Locker - a social venture to help low-income students to receive help with sports equipment and fees.

“There’s an old stereotype of Kansas as this stoic, stagnant state,” said Dr. Kori Gregg, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at the college. “At McPherson College we’ve had the privilege of seeing the truth firsthand through events such as JumpStart Kansas. We boast a rich group of innovators and creative thinkers, who aren’t afraid to take a calculated risk and take a leap to accomplish their dreams.”

The applications for JumpStart Kansas will be judged by an independent panel of entrepreneurs, community members and McPherson College faculty.

The 10 finalists (five in the commercial and five in the non-profit categories) will be notified of their selection on Jan.30, 2013. The finalists will be required to travel to the McPherson College campus to present their ideas on Feb. 13, 2013. The two grand prize winners will be announced the same day.

The challenge is part of the college’s “Freedom to Jump” entrepreneurship initiative, which officially launched in 2011. As the program has developed, McPherson College has given more than 100 micro-grants of up to $500 to students through its Horizon Fund. Grant recipients have included Blake Jett and Samuel Tucker, who started MutePoint Apparel, LLC, giving a portion of their T-shirt sales to charity; Zack Gaddis and Jared Stevenson, who started a non-profit Christian music label called G1 Entertainment; and Kelsi Sowers, who designed the Horizon Fund logo as part of her new graphic design business. Also, the college now offers a minor in “Transformative Entrepreneurship,” allowing students to make entrepreneurship a part of their degree, regardless of their major area of study.

The program continues to grow as a new Entrepreneurship Team of faculty and staff at the college are planning the next steps for Freedom to Jump with the goal of establishing McPherson College as one of the key leaders in entrepreneurship in the nation. Watch for stories about the new developments at McPherson College as those efforts come to fruition.

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