New entrepreneur program is combined effort

December 26, 2013

A new business-education partnership in Emporia will bring academic opportunity to students of both Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College. Dream It — Design It — Develop It, known as the 3D event, is a new venture idea competition that is open to students from Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College.

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Emporia State University School of Business for the event, which will also allow the winning Emporia teams to compete against teams from Kansas State University.

"The School of Business is pleased to partner with so many different individuals and several organizations within the Emporia community to bring an event to our students that promotes entrepreneurial spirit and academic excellence,” said Dr. Kristie Ogilvie, dean of the ESU School of Business. “Having the opportunity to offer the 3D competition to students from all disciplines from both ESU and Flint Hills Technical College will bring a healthy dynamic to the event.”

The framework for the 3D event begins with participants, either individuals or teams up to three members, submitting a business plan that pitches a "big idea" to a panel of judges and qualifying for the next round in the competition. The semifinals will be limited to 20 teams or individuals. During the semifinal round, students will have three weeks to redefine their big ideas through faculty mentoring and workshops led by entrepreneurs in the community.

The semifinalists then have 15 minutes to pitch their final business plans to a panel of judges and go through a series of questions and answers. The top three teams will be chosen, and winners will be announced at a gala event April 11, 2014, at Emporia State University. Ultimately, the 3D competition focuses on teaching students what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Not only does this event give students insight to what it takes to start their own business, it also gives them the chance to turn their dream into a reality. Teams will be competing for cash prizes in the amounts of $4,000 for first place, $2,000 for second and $1,000 for third. The top three teams that place in the 3D competition will move on to compete against the top three teams of the K-State Launch — a similar competition held at Kansas State University. This competition will be held in Manhattan in late April.

In addition to the prizes awarded to students at the April 11 gala, an existing entrepreneur with ties to the Emporia community will be honored with the Spirit Award.

“It is important, not only to encourage inspiring entrepreneurs, but to recognize the accomplishments of those who have exemplified what it means to be an entrepreneur,” said Jeanine McKenna, president and CEO of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce. “We want to recognize those who have taken risks in building their enterprises that have created jobs and value where none existed before.”

Starting in the spring semester, students from both academic institutions will have an opportunity to learn more about the event through campus liaisons and faculty who decide to incorporate the competition into their courses. Students will also have the opportunity to attend workshops at both campuses to learn more about the competition and gain insight on possible ideas for competition.

“Flint Hills Technical College is excited to participate in the 3D competition, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with both the ESU School of Business and the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce,” said Dean Hollenbeck, president of Flint Hills Technical College. “The Dream It — Design It — Develop It event will give our students the opportunity to showcase their talents and ideas.  It will also allow them to experience the value of their education and how it can materialize into great possibilities.”

Added Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, ESU president: “The entrepreneurial spirit and creating big ideas has always been part of the 150-year partnership between Emporia State and the city of Emporia.”

For more information on participating in the 3D competition, please contact Jessica Buchholz at 620-341-5371 or For more information on nominating a business for The Spirit Award or attending the gala on April 11, please contact Jeanine McKenna at 620-342-1600 or



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