Project 17
A Regional Economic Development Initiative

Innovation Summit Schedule

When Main Session
Woods Community Room
Breakout Session 1
Woods Community Room
Breakout Session 2
Room 101
Breakout Session 3
Fri., May 1
7:00 a.m.
Registration/Set up

ICC West

7:30 a.m. –
8:25 a.m.
ICC Business Leaders Spotlight
Clifton Taulbert
Entrepreneurial Topics;
U.S. and World
8:30 a.m. –
9:00 a.m.
2015 Innovation Summit
9:00 a.m. –
9:05 a.m.
Welcome by ICC President Dan Barwick
9:10 a.m. –
9:50 a.m.
Rodney Walker
Education and Entrepreneurship
9:50 a.m. –
10:00 a.m.
10:00 a.m. –
10:45 a.m.
Jorge Zuniga –
Taming the Cyborg
Beast (Hand)
Mike Niedenthal
Lean Innovation
Scott Kreshel
Blue Valley CAPS
Student Projects
11:00 a.m. –
11:45 a.m.
Monte Coffman –
Innovations in Health Delivery
11:45 a.m. – Chicken Mary’s begins serving
12:10 p.m. – Welcome and Introduction (lunch in progress)
12:15 a.m. –
1:00 p.m.
Clifton Taulbert
Entrepreneurial Thinking in the New Economy
1:10 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Todd Allison &
Linden Dalecki on Implementing
Innovation Engineering
Tony Russell &
Bob Wallentine
KS FiberNet
Toby Lavine
Kansas Aviation
Character Culture
2:10 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Building Fab Lab –
Tim Haynes
Jim Correll
Imagene Harris
Network Kansas,
Terry Trout
Main Street
3:10 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. Closing and Announcements
3:35 – 5:00 p.m. Fab Lab ICC After Party and Tour

For presentation and speaker information visit or email

NetWork Kansas to Host Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Events April 29 & May 6, 2015

Wichita, Kansas, April 1, 2015 — NetWork Kansas‘ second annual Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge series will bring together students from across northwest Kansas and southeast Kansas to compete for more than $10,000 in total prize money on April 29 in Columbus, KS and May 6 in Leoti, KS. The Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge features a business plan tradeshow, elevator pitches, and formal business presentations.

Guest speakers will showcase notable young entrepreneurs: Mike Bosch, CEO of Reflective Group and Pipeline Fellow; Zach Haney, CEO of Carnival Guy and named one of America’s top young entrepreneurs.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is an innovative entrepreneurship battle that highlights entrepreneurship as a viable career path for students and facilitates learning and fun.

After competing in one of eleven local-level competitions held in the two qualifying regions, students can apply to advance to this regional showcase.

The Northwest Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is open to students in grades 7-12 who live in a northwest Kansas Entrepreneurship (E-) Community who have participated in one of seven qualifying local competitions held in Bird City, Phillips County, Rawlins County, Sherman County, Thomas County, and Wichita County between February and April. Northwest Kansas E-Communities include: Bird City, Ellis County, Greeley County, Phillips County, Norton County, Rawlins County, Scott County, Sherman County, Thomas County, and Wichita County.

The Southeast Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is open to students in grades 7-12 who live in a southeast Kansas Entrepreneurship Community who have participated in one of four qualifying local competitions held in Altamont, Cherokee County, Girard, and Humboldt. Southeast Kansas E-Communities include: Altamont, Anderson County, Chautauqua County, Cherokee County, Coffeyville, Girard, Humboldt, Linn County, and Northern Montgomery County.

The competition is hosted by NetWork Kansas as part of their 48-community E-Community Partnership. The E-Community Partnership is dedicated to increasing entrepreneurial activity and developing self-sustaining ecosystems favorable to long-term entrepreneurial growth. NetWork KansasAT&T, Joplin Regional PartnershipColumbus Telephone & Optic CommunicationsMidwest EnergyWheatland Electric/Wheatland Broadband, Sunflower Electric, and The Bank are proud sponsors of the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

All participants will display a business plan booth, present their entrepreneurship idea to judges, and participate in elevator pitches. Students who advance to the final round will present their business plan in a formal presentation to a panel of judges and the audience. A total of $5,000 in prize money will be awarded at each event, including $2,500 for first place, $1,250 for second place, and $750 for third place, and other awards.

Opportunities still exist for businesses to sponsor the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Interested businesses or organizations should contact Anne Dewvall at

For more information, contact Anne Dewvall at or visit:

Kansas Innovation Summit

Project 17, in conjunction with the Independence Community College and The Innovative Business Resource Center would like to invite you to this year’s Kansas Innovation Summit. The summit will be held from 8:30AM to 3:05PM on May 1st, 2015 at Independence Community College’s West Campus and will feature speakers showcasing innovation and entrepreneurship.  Guest speakers include Pulitzer prize winning author Clifton Taulbert, Jorge Zuniga, and Rodney Walker.  Other local entrepreneurs and innovators will also share their stories. Adult registration including lunch is $50. Please see the details provided below and register soon because space is limited.  Register here


Project 17 Quality of Life Video Contest Winner Announced

Project 17 is pleased to announce the winners of a video contest that was held to promote all the reasons why it is great to live in Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson counties. Video entries focused on all of the positive aspects that contribute to a great quality of life in these 17 counties. The goal of the Project 17 Quality of Life Video Contest was to strengthen a sense of belonging and highlight all of the unique attributes that make this region great. Judges were looking for videos that showed a personal attachment to the area that communicated to others why this region is such an amazing place. Entries shared what they liked about living in the Project 17 region to help spread the word to others that, “This is where youbelong!” or, “You ought to come back to the area because great things are happening!”

 Eureka High School
WINNER- Eureka High School

Project 17 Economic Development meeting releasing Regional Skills and Labor Shed Study Results

Hello all, I am pleased to announce that the skill shed analysis for the Project 17 region has been completed by the Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University.  They surveyed the region over the past few months (phone by land and cell phone line) to complete the study.  I know the results are important and a valuable tool as people across the region work to help businesses expand and attract new businesses to the region.  Additionally, it is a good workforce analysis too.  This analysis is not a traditional labor shed analysis therefore it will be important to walk through the results together.   Therefore, we are scheduling a meeting to go over the study and discuss results.  The meeting to discuss the results will be held on March 12th from 10 to noon in Chanute in the Alliance Room at the Municipal building-101 South Lincoln Avenue, Chanute, KS 66720​.  The study will not be publicly released until after this meeting.  Thanks so much and look forward to seeing you soon.  Feel free to share this meeting invitation with anyone you think may be interested in this topic. 



Labette County youth entrepreneur is working to enhance farming industry!

Updated: Feb 17, 2015 6:24 PM CST ;Tuesday, February 17, 2015 7:24 PM EST

Cherokee County Youth Entrepreneur Fair to Take Place on February 25th

Cherokee County Economic Development and the Cherokee County E-Community will host the first annual Cherokee County Youth Entrepreneur Fair on Wednesday, February 25th at Columbus Unified High School, 124 S. High School Ave., Columbus, KS.  Twelve (12) teams of high school students representing the Baxter Springs, Columbus, and Southeast School Districts will present their business concepts with a written business plan, a 2-3 minute elevator pitch to judges, and a tabletop display.

Students will be competing for more than $2,500 in cash prizes courtesy of the following sponsors: American Bank of Baxter Springs, ATEC Steel, B & B Discount, CBW Bank, Cherokee County Economic Development (1st Prize), Columbus Telephone Company/Optic Communications, Commerce Bank (3rd Prize), Empire District Electric Company, Farmer’s Cooperative Association, Jay Hatfield Companies (2nd Prize), Shelter Insurance – Richard Hilderbrand, University Bank, and Wolkar Drug.

“We are excited that so many students will be competing and hope that this event gives them the encouragement they need to launch their ventures,” says Economic Development Director Janet Miller.

The public is invited to view student displays and visit with entrants in the CUHS cafeteria starting at 3:15 pm. They are also welcome to stay for the awards presentation which will take place at approximately 4:00 pm.

For more information on the Youth Entrepreneur Fair, contact Cherokee County Economic Development Director Janet Miller at 620-762-0717 or

KANSASWORKS Independence Office is closed at the Arco building location

As of 1:00 today, February 17, 2015, the KANSASWORKS Independence Office is closed at the Arco building location due to the heater failing. All KW staff have been relocated to Independence Community College West, 1057 West College Ave in Independence, rooms 106 and 110 for the rest of this week, through February 20.  The College phone number is (620) 331-4100, but this is for messages only. If needed, call the KANSASWORKS Center in Pittsburg at (620) 231-4250.

Small Bank in Kansas is a Financial Testing Ground (Cherokee Co.)

via New York Times DealBook article

The redbrick bank in Weir, Kan., in a building cater-corner from the mortuary on Main Street, does not look much like a candidate for the bank of the future.

Inside, an Emerson boombox with a fully extended silver antenna is tuned to KJMK, Classic Hits. The huge steel vault, from the Mosler Safe Company, was used to lock up former owners of the bank overnight during an armed heist in 1959. And the storage room in the back contains an old, unlabeled bottle of brown moonshine.

Beneath these holdovers, though, the Citizens Bank of Weir — or CBW, as it was renamed — has been taken apart and rebuilt, from its fiber optic cables up, so it can offer services not available at even the nation’s largest banks.

The creation of the new bank, and the maintenance of the old one, are the work of a couple who were born in India and ended up in Kansas after living in Silicon Valley and passing through jobs at Google and Lehman Brothers.


To read the entire article please click here.

2015 Farm to School Regional Networking and Training Workshops