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McPherson College’s Jump Start Kansas Competition Gives Cash for High School Students’ Great Ideas

From grocery carts that can turn on a dime to a business that will wait for you in line – and more – McPherson College’s Jump Start Kansas Day competition brought 21 high school students to campus to compete for up to $500 cash for their great ideas.

The annual event, which was on Feb. 12 this year, is designed to encourage and develop the entrepreneurial mindset in high school students – in the state and beyond.

Students came to campus to present their ideas in front of a judging panel, tour campus, attend a mini-class on entrepreneurship, and make connections with student entrepreneurs currently attending McPherson College.

Thomas Nicklesen, a junior from Newton, Kan., presented his business idea called “Stand.For.Me.” The concept was to use an app or a website to connect people who want popular, premium event tickets but don’t want to wait in long lines for them, with “Stand Ins” who are willing to hire themselves to wait in line instead.

Nicklesen said the experience of presenting his idea was a little like a business-pitch television show – such as “Shark Tank,” but without the aggression and hostility.

“If I’m going to start a business, I’m going to have to talk to people,” he said. “And this is a hate-free environment for that. They made me feel comfortable.”

Kaylee Hill, a junior at Heights High School in Wichita, Kan., presented her idea for a non-profit – “Flower Power.” The concept is to create a free after-school program for girls ages 5 to 17, providing time for tutoring, learning about etiquette, and many other life skills.

“Even girls who don’t have friends, I want them to have a place to go and make new friends,” Hill said.

President Michael Schneider addressed all of the competitors at a lunch following the presentations. He shared with the students that the sort of competition they just experienced is like a program offered to current McPherson College students – the Horizon Fund – which gives grants of up to $500 about three times every year.

“McPherson College cares about ideas,” Schneider said. “This is just what we do.”

He encouraged these high school students to consider McPherson College to continue their education and further develop their entrepreneurial skills.

“You all have one thing in common,” he said. “You like to start things. We were so impressed with your passion and preparation. You exceeded our expectations.”

The full list of students and their Jump Start Kansas ideas are as follows:

  • Blake Janes, Wichita, Kan. – A daycare that focuses on teaching kids sports skills.
  • Aaron Thomas, Clearwater, Kan. – A shopping cart that can spin 360 degrees around its center.
  • Daniel Serres, Independence, Mo. – D.A. Socks: a trendy online sock company.
  • Mikayleigh Wilson, Newton, Kan. – Create a photography and portrait business, focused on making personal connections and taking photos using natural lighting rather than a studio setting.
  • Cheyenne Bosley, Haysville, Kan. – Create a discount cards fundraiser option to make money and help schools, churches, youth groups and youth athletic teams raise money for their organizations.
  • Zac Angleton, Wichita, Kan. – A mobile pet grooming business based in a converted RV or trailer.
  • Cloe Coons and Amanda Lolling, both of Haysville, Kan. – “Elaborate Embellishments”: a decorating service company, focusing on quality seasonal decorating.
  • Kaylee Hill, Wichita, Kan. – “Flower Power”: A non-profit offering after-school activities and education for girls and teenagers.
  • Jared Goering and Spencer Steinert, both of McPherson, Kan. – A device that tracks biomedical information such as one’s pulse.
  • Abbey Bertholf, Winfield, Kan. – Develop a golf accessory that is seat connected to a standing golf bag.
  • Janae McKinney, McPherson, Kan. – Begin a local dog training service, based on her decade of experience training her own animals in 4-H.
  • Kyle McCall, Topeka, Kan. – Develop a product that is a smartphone cover but also has a built-in screen on the back side of the phone, allowing for a completely customized case design.
  • Eli Minson, Topeka, Kan. – “Kicksclusive”: A business focusing on carrying limited edition and other exclusive sneakers in a local business.
  • Will Adler, Winfield, Kan. – Developing a bagless lawn mower that instead of mulching the grass and leaving it in clumps on the year, will incinerate the clippings.
  • Vanessa Ramirez, Independence, Mo. – Create a Spanish and English education and translation business, focusing on fostering communication between immigrants to the U.S. from Spanish speaking countries.
  • Tate Brumfield, Andover, Kan. – Create a grocery and market that focuses entirely on green, organic foods – drawn entirely from local farmers and ranchers.
  • Carleigh Camacho, Andover, Kan. – Begin a leadership education academy for teens and young adults.
  • Thomas Nicklesen, Newton, Kan. – “Stand.For.Me.”: A business connecting those who want high-demand tickets or other items with “Stand Ins” – people willing to wait in line for pay so the users don’t have to.
  • James Vansyckle, Clearwater, Kan. – A business making custom lights from empty liquor bottles.