Emporia State is hosting its annual Emporia Entrepreneur Challenge which invites students to submit venture and business opportunity ideas for funding.

“The purpose of the challenge is to get students involved with entrepreneurship,” said Jeffrey Muldoon, assistant professor of business and director of the challenge. “We want to have our students show initiative to solving problems a small business would have.”

The challenge aims to give funding to the winning ideas with the top two teams moving onto the state-wide competition held at Kansas State University for another opportunity at prize money.

“The other benefit to it is there is some bleed in terms of economic development in the region…Some of our students have started businesses in small towns out of entrepreneurship challenges,” Muldoon said. “Last year, our winner Carissa McAfee placed as an honorable mention in the state. She’s actually started her small business in providing art to those who are mentally disabled or challenged… I feel a strong sense of pride.”

The challenge is part of the School of Business who is already known for their entrepreneurship according to Ed Bashaw, dean for the School of Business.

“I think one of the benefits is a general broadening of what they think they can do with a business degree…their capabilities to pull something like that off,” Bashaw said. “I think one of the biggest benefits is the self-confidence that comes from ‘Hey, I can do this.’”

The Elevator Challenge, while not part of the main Entrepreneur Challenge, is a great opportunity to pitch ideas and get advice for the executive summary due Feb.19. The Elevator Challenge is at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 in Cremer Hall.

“On the elevator challenge…they ride up for 27 seconds, give their pitch as they ride up, and (Rich Avery, the owner of Pizza Ranch) gives them feedback on the way back down,” said Beth Ginter, director of student services and marketing. “He kind of grades them on his own sheet in the elevator and deliberates afterwards.”

This event and others like it are open to all students, no matter their major. Everyone is welcome to participate. Students who are interested should visit

Emporia.edu/business/EEC for rules, guidelines and registration.

“Once this gets going, it's one of the good cycles where word of mouth gets out there,” Bashaw said. “That this a good place to get your ideas out. If this is really what you want to do you can get out there and get started…It’s the school of anything’s possible.”

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