Team from SHS who won as freshmen, again take first place at this year’s Youth Entrepreneurship Fair

RIVERTON - Three young ladies from Cherokee not only proved their business savvy, but established a legacy as they took home first place for the second time in the county's premier youth entrepreneurship showcase.

Cherokee County Economic Development and the Cherokee County E-Community hosted the fourth annual Cherokee County Youth Entrepreneur Fair on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Grace Community Church in Riverton. 14 entrants representing Columbus and Southeast High Schools presented their business concepts with a written executive summary, a four minute presentation to judges, and a tabletop display. Winning first place and taking home $1,500 in cash prizes was 'Live Oriental', the project of Southeast students Sarah Clausen, Wyntr Jacobs, and Caitlin Low.

"We had a terrific group of students participating again this year," said Economic Development Director Janet Miller. "As always, our judges were impressed with the quality of the ideas presented and the students’ professionalism."

Ben Pierce, of Columbus Unified High School was awarded second prize ($1,000) for his business, Family Foodies. Third place ($750) went to Southeast's Jake Burns, for On the Spot Photography.

Other awards given were: Best Tabletop Display ($100): Austyn’s Sweet Treats, Austyn Simpson, Columbus Unified High School; and Exceptional Presentation ($100): Take Home Meals (Tori Oplotnik, Alex Rice, Norma Tavernaro, and Jacob Trayer), Southeast High School.

Winning students received $3,450 in prize money courtesy of the following sponsors: American Bank, ATEC Steel (3rd Prize), Cherokee County E-Community (2nd Prize), City of Columbus (1st Prize), Columbus Telephone Company/Optic Communications (3rd Prize), Commerce Bank (1st Prize), Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative, Crossland Construction (1st Prize), Exchange State Bank, Farmer's Cooperative Association (3rd Prize), Hilderbrand Agency, Labette Bank, Mike Carpino Ford, Realpro, and University Bank, branch GNB.

In addition to the cash prizes, participants have the opportunity to continue on to the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge on April 24th at Kansas State University. This event will include students from high schools across the state.

The event also included a presentation by Pittsburg State University student and entrepreneur John Botts. Botts spoke with students about his own entrepreneurial experiences from cotton candy to buttons. For more information on the Youth Entrepreneur Fair, contact Cherokee County Economic Development Director Janet Miller at 620-762-0717 or