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Jump Start Kansas


Contest Information

Entry deadline is closed. Finalists to be announced January 30th. Pitch Competition is February 13th.

Do you have a great idea for a new product, service or social venture?

Have you ever wanted a chance to bring that idea to life?

Then enter the $5,000 Jump Start Kansas competition for Kansas High School students!

If your idea is innovative and holds real promise to be successful in the market, you can win $5,000 – a great reward for your entrepreneurial dreaming and seed capital to start turning your idea into reality.

With our competition you can put your idea in motion and have experts in business and entrepreneurship assist you along the way. In addition, you will meet other high school students from across Kansas who are creative thinkers just like you.
Sound interesting? Well, it’s time to get started!

The perks:

  • Recognition for your original idea at our awards ceremony
  • Prize money and awards (a total of over $80,000 awarded in scholarships and prizes to finalists)
  • Meet successful entrepreneurs who are available to assist you with bringing your idea to life.
  • Looks great on your resume and college application!



Awards will be given for the winning idea in two separate categories:

(1) The commercial idea category award will be given to the best commercial business venture idea.  A commercial business is one that primarily seeks to generate profits by selling products or services in exchange for money.

(2) The social idea category award will be given to the best social venture idea.  A social venture is one that primarily seeks to generate “social value,” not monetary value.  Social ideas should be centered around “making meaning” rather than “making profit” and should identify a social change such as increasing the quality of life, righting a wrong, or preventing the end of something good.    A social entrepreneur may generate profits, but for him/her that is not the primary reason for starting the venture.  Social entrepreneurs are focused and driven to produce measurable impact by opening up new doors and pathways for things such as the environment, the marginalized and disadvantaged, and unlocking society’s full potential to effect social change.

What you need to do:

Deadline to submit is January 28, 2013. Finalists announced January 30th. Pitch Competition is February 13th.

Go to our online application and tell us in 750 words or less about your idea.  You’ll be asked to tell us about your venture, who your customer or stakeholders will be, who your competitors or partners will be, what the societal benefits will be, and what your goals are and why you want to create this venture.

The competition is open to any enrolled high school (9-12 grades) student in Kansas who is enrolled at the time of the application submission.  You must also have a faculty mentor from your school who will agree to assist you through the process of writing your submission.  If you are under the age of 18 we will also need to have a release form signed by a parent or guardian.

Application deadline is Jan 28, 2013.  An independent panel of entrepreneurs, community members, and faculty will judge the entries and the top 10 (5 in commercial and 5 in social) will be notified of their selection by January 30, 2013.  All finalists will be required to attend the pitch competition on February 13, 2013.  During the pitch competition, each finalist will be given 5 minutes to pitch their idea to the judging panel and the top winners will be announced at the conclusion of the event.  Finalists will be required to attend to receive consideration.


The top idea in both the commercial and social venture categories will receive $5,000 in seed money and $20,000 ($5,000 per year for four years) in scholarship to McPherson College. The remaining eight finalists will each receive $4,000 ($1,000 per year for 4 years) in scholarship money to McPherson College.
*You are not required to enroll at the college to recieve the $5,000 seed money.

Other questions you might have:

How do I know that someone won’t steal my ideas? 
McPherson College will make every effort to ensure the confidentiality of ideas entered. However, others must see, read and understand the ideas in order for them to be judged. The only information that will be made public is the idea title and the author’s name(s). Unfortunately, US law prohibits us offering more than the assurances above, as “ideas” cannot be protected according to US law. If you are truly afraid that someone will steal your ideas, you can trademark names or register domain names associated with your submission.

I can’t describe my idea in 750 words. Can I make it longer? 
No. 750 words are the maximum. Please re-read it carefully, and eliminate unnecessary information. You can describe any business idea in 750 words if you use the right words

Can I enter as part of a team?
Yes.  The competition is open to both individuals as well as teams.  If you are working as part of a team, you will be asked to identify all members in the application.  In the case of a team winning the overall $5,000, the money will be given to the team and not to each individual.

Can I enter more than 1 business idea? 
Yes. However, no person can be an author or co-author on more than 2 entries. You may only submit one entry individually and one entry as a member of a team.  Remember, developing a winning business idea takes time and effort. You are far more likely to win if you concentrate your efforts on one or two ideas.

Do I have to enroll at McPherson College if I win?
No.  But we sure hope that once you have worked with us, that you will want to choose McPherson College as your next step.

Additional Rules:

Judging of entries will be performed by a panel of independent judges consisting of commercial or social entrepreneurs, investors, faculty and professional service providers.  Throughout the Jump Start competition, the judges’ decisions will be final.

The College reserves the right to disqualify, in its sole and absolute discretion, any individual or team from the competition at any time for any reason. Reasons for disqualification may include things such as plagiarism, claiming and or misrepresentation of the intellectual property of others, and any failure to comply with these rules and regulations. Disqualified individuals or teams shall forfeit all awards and scholarships.

The awards will be required to be used for the idea start-up and the winners must adhere to specific accountability regulations and follow-up.

Finalists will be required to sign a certification that the idea submitted is their original work.


Competition Application

Questions that haven’t been answered?  Contact Dr. Kori Gregg at or call 1-800-365-7402.