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Carissa McAfee Wins 2018 Emporia Entrepreneur Challenge

March 16, 2018

Winners of the Emporia Entrepreneurial Challenge with Dr. Ed Bashaw, left, are, left to right, Clarissa McAfee, DeWayne Sanford and Clinton Henderson.

An Emporia State business student from Valley Falls won the 2018 Emporia Entrepreneur Challenge on Tuesday. Carissa McAfee was among 17 teams from Emporia State University and one team from Flint Hills Technical College that presented their business proposals to a team of judges and the community during the event.

These teams were selected from an original pool of 41 teams. The competition consisted of three rounds: an executive summary review, oral presentation, and community showcase.

Teams who presented during the Community Showcase on March 13 included:

  • BallSpotter: Farhan Sadique
  • Barger Financial: Derrick Barger
  • Bo Hassan: Mohammed Alsalman
  • BUZZ Parking: Jack Wilson, Trey Taylor, and Dylan Holden
  • DIY Bakery: Zhao Liu and Sergio Felipe Escobar Forero
  • Emporia Pet Watch: Payson Maydew and Shannon Kane
  • Expression Through Art: Carissa McAfee
  • iCare: Clinton Henderson
  • iMatter : Austin Lingenfelter and Mason Esch
  • JK: Tomu Yamamoto, Seongin Lee, and Jisub Kim
  • Late Night Scoop: Mallory Mitchell and Sarah Durham
  • The Mentality App: Allyssa Henry
  • Mini Mike: Taylor Sanagorski and Layne Downing
  • PodShack: David Szabo
  • Pools by Pearson: Ryan Pearson
  • Self-Control Achievement: Tara Lierz and Jasmine Jones
  • Wag-N-Wash: DeWayne Sanford
  • Workout Builder: Christina Brunton

Teams were judged on innovation, concept, market potential, feasibility, business model, competition and service to society. The winners were announced following a short pitch from the finalists which included the top three winners plus an additional team, Austin Lingenfelter and Mason Esch with iMatter, who which finished fourth.

“The students who entered this competition have had a great experience!” says Dr. Ed Bashaw, dean of the ESU School of Business. “This competition is a true example of high-impact learning, something we pride ourselves with at ESU. All of the winners are very passionate about their idea, and I believe they will pursue their concepts well past the competition.”

First place and $2,500 was awarded to McAfee for “Expression Through Art,” a hybrid nonprofit that envisions a world where arts opportunities are offered for every special needs individual in order to foster confidence, communication, and peer interaction.

“Competing in the Emporia Entrepreneur Challenge has helped me develop a concept that I am very passionate about,” said McAfee. “The feedback I’ve received from the judges and the faculty here at the School of Business has helped me reach this point in the competition. It has been an amazing experience that I am very grateful for!”

Second place and $1,500 was awarded to DeWayne Sanford, ESU junior business administration major from Lawton, Oklahoma, for his business idea, “Team Soulja,” a self-service dog wash that will give a convenient and comfortable place for customers to wash their dog without the hassle of cleanup at home.

“This event was an amazing experience,” said Sanford. “What it showed me is that the community supports it. They loved the idea so much that they want to see it in Emporia soon. So this challenge helped me build a small client base, and I am grateful for that.”

Clinton Henderson, ESU senior business administration major, minoring in geography, from Junction City, won third place and $500 for “iCare,” a venture idea that will supply children within the foster care system with a book bags filled with their needs.

Said Henderson: “It was an amazing learning experience. All the feedback I received was awesome because it showed me that the last two years of work haven’t been for nothing.”

While at the Community Showcase, guests were invited to cast their vote for “Community Choice” based on displays and interactions with the competitors. Allyssa Henry, a graphic design student at Flint Hills Technical College, won a gift for winning the Community Choice award.

The EEC Committee included Dr. Jeff Muldoon, ESU, EEC Director; Dr. Sheryl Lidzy, ESU; Beth Ginter, ESU; and Kim Dhority, FHTC.

As a complement to the EEC, 36 teams participated in the Elevator Challenge on Feb. 5, with some of the same teams moving on to compete in the EEC. Rich Avery, owner of Pizza Ranch, judged this event.

First-round judges who graded the executive summaries were Dr. Steve Catt, ESU; Kim Dhority, FHTC; Dr. Douglass Smith, ESU; and Dr. Marian Riedy, ESU.

Judges for the second (oral presentations) and final rounds (Community Showcase) included Rick Becker, Mulready’s Pub; Lisa Brumbaugh, Kansas Small Business Development Center; Jessica Buchholz, Emporia Main Street; Jeanine McKenna, Emporia Chamber of Commerce; Ryan O'Meara, ESU; Kim Redeker, The Sweet Granada; and Greg Yotz, Vektek.         

Another component of the challenge will include Share Your Story Night hosted by the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce on April 10. The top four teams will deliver their pitches again to a group of local business professionals for feedback to improve their concepts.

The three winners will travel to Manhattan on April 24 for the Kansas Entrepreneur Challenge with McAfee and Sanford presenting their business concepts.




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