The College of Business and Entrepreneurship hosted the first-ever Startup Weekend in western Kansas on November 15-17 in McCartney Hall on the Fort Hays State University campus. Thirty-one participants, including FHSU students and alumni, pitched business ideas and formed teams to transform those ideas into functioning businesses.
Business concepts included a shared workspace for IT students and professionals, an indoor play space for kids and families, and a mobile application for person-to-person textbook sales. Teams worked Friday evening to Sunday evening, and several worked with few breaks and little sleep. FHSU faculty, alumni and local business owners provided input, suggestions and advice to the teams as business plans were developed.
Teams competed Sunday evening in presentations to a panel of judges comprised of local and regional business leaders. The top three teams were:
· First Place -- Mobile Mouse, an application to make any smart phone a point and click mouse for presentations.
· Second Place -- Equance, a line of high-end horse-tack jewelry for horse owners.
· Third Place -- Wilson's All American Grill, a gourmet food truck serving Hays and other college venues.
The event was challenging -- and it was fun, too. Most of the participants intend to launch their ideas and have begun working with outside resources, including the FHSU Small Business Development Center, NetWork Kansas, the FHSU Management Development Center, and Mapes and Miller, LLP, to take the next steps to make their ideas a reality.
The College of Business and Entrepreneurship will host another event in April 2014 and hopes to grow the event to include participants from across western Kansas, as well as individuals from other areas of expertise, including accounting, arts, design and finance.