Rock Creek Ostrich Ranch places second in Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge

May 2, 2014

A strong contingent from Emporia travelled to Manhattan to support the three teams from 3D Emporia. (Photo courtesy Kansas State University)

Two students from Emporia State University took second place in a business-venture competition against students from Kansas State University in the first-ever Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge.

On Wednesday, April 30, the top three teams from the 3D Emporia competition traveled to Manhattan to go head-to-head against students from Kansas State University.

Placing second overall was Rock Creek Ostrich Ranch, the Emporia State team consisting of Nakita Elwood, junior sociology major from Madison, and Teri Whitson, senior accounting major from Emporia. Elwood and Whitson received a $1,000 prize for their ostrich ranch business, which is currently in its seed stage.

“While we are so thankful for the monetary rewards we have received, there is no way to put a value on the knowledge, experience, confidence and networking opportunities this competition has provided,” said Whitson.

The remaining Emporia teams finished as runners-up in the competition. Team Biker proposed a bike rental kiosk for Emporia students and community members. The team was comprised of Emporia State students Soojin Bae, senior management major; Jeffrey Miller, senior management major; and Preston Mossman, senior business administration major. Williams Web Development Team consisted of Flint Hills Technical College student Josh Williams, a computer programming student. Williams is developing a scheduling software targeted at educational institutions.

First place and $2,000 went to Kansas State students Josh Mais, junior from Leawood, for his professional real estate photography and video business plan. Filippe Scortegagna and Marcos Cortopassi, Kansas State students from New York, received third place overall and $500. The technology they are developing will help dairy cow producers identify unhealthy animals based on their water consumption.

“We were really excited about the opportunity to compete against Kansas State students. Since they have an entrepreneurship center and degree program, we knew they’d be tough competitors,” said Elwood. “I’m really proud of how all of our teams competed and am so grateful for the experience.”

Dr. Nathan Woolard, director of leadership studies, was very instrumental in the 3D Emporia competition and getting students prepared for the Kansas Entrepreneurship challenge.

“It was exciting to see our students compete against a very large and developed KSU Entrepreneurial Program and come out looking like stars,” said Woolard. “We have some of the brightest and most creative students around, and it’s always nice to showcase that.”

Dave Dreiling, chair of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board for K-State’s Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and founder of GTM Sportswear, based in Manhattan, served as the event’s keynote speaker. The event attracted a large group from Emporia, including faculty and staff from Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College, representatives from ESB Financial, and Emporia community members who cheered on the competitors.

Dr. Kristie Ogilvie, dean of Emporia State’s School of Business explained: “The Kansas Entrepreneurial Challenge was an academically value-added opportunity for our students. I cannot thank enough the faculty, staff, and community members who were supportive of this competition and in turn gave our students such a remarkable experience.”

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