K-State Launch Series contest to jumpstart student ideas

Finalists of K-State Launch gather for an award photo on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in the College of Business Building. K-State Launch is an entrepreneurial idea competition for K-State students who have new venture ideas. Chris Zachary (back row, second from left), senior in entrepreneurship, won the grand prize of $2,000 for IRIS, which he described as a web platform for marketing video for professional services, such as real estate ventures. (Archive photo by Tiffany Roney | Collegian Media Group)

The K-State Launch event is an opportunity to receive feedback from judges to improve a business idea, start a business or obtain funding to help an idea grow, Tara Gieber, entrepreneurship instructor, said. According to K-State Today, the top 20 finalists will receive $175 scholarships and compete for additional scholarship prizes.

Gieber said the event begins with a workshop open to all Kansas State students, on Oct. 25 at 4 p.m.

“In the workshop, you learn about the competition, and also learn about what the judges are looking for and get tips and tricks on how to give a big pitch,” Gieber said. “K-State Launch has a live pitch night which is an elimination competition to get into.”

Students have two options — they can participate in the live qualifying pitch event at the Entrepreneurship Center in the College of Business from 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 1, or submit a three-minute video of their pitch to Canvas before 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 3. 

Gieber said all K-State students can participate in K-State Launch.

“In the past, K-State Launch has had the College of Agriculture, College of Engineering, College of Art and Science, and lots of others represented in the competition,” Gieber said.  

Most of the time it is not all about money, but the experience students gain from the competition, Gieber said. 

“K-State Launch has heard from students that participated in the past about how they get real-world networking,” Giber said. “The students get a chance to talk to the judges from across the community that influences their business idea.”

Lyndsie Schroeder, graduate student in business administration, said the competition is a great idea for students to receive professional feedback on venture ideas.

“It helps you get real-world experience,” Schroeder said. “It gets you thinking about what you want to do after college, like if you want to start a business or not,” Schroeder said.

Gieber said the competition is beneficial because students can hear from community members as well.

“Students not only get input from people that have done it, but they also get a chance to network and hear from other people that may one day want to invest in their business, or can help them connect with someone else down the line to move their business idea forward,” Gieber said.

Nick Jackson, junior in marketing, said he participated in the event last year, and the competition connected him with many people.

“I have been connected with probably 10 entrepreneurs just through the contest itself — getting great feedback from them, networking and getting good connections to other successful entrepreneurs,” Jackson said.

Gieber said this competition is not just for ideas, but for any K-State student with an existing business.

“I have heard from students a lot in my classes that have online boutiques, a snow cone business, or consulting on the side and making money that way,” Gieber said. “All of these small businesses have a chance to come and compete at this kind of big competition.”

For more information on K-State Launch or submissions, visit the K-State Launch website.