Growing Jewell County holds student Entrepreneurship Fair


On Wednesday, December 5, 2018, Growing Jewell County held their annual Entrepreneurship Fair (E-Fair) at Rock Hills High School.  Students worked on their business ideas and plans in advance of the day.  Then during the E-Fair individuals and teams of students gave a verbal presentation of their business idea to the judges.  Entries were a mix of existing businesses and new business concepts.  Some of the business plans were adapted from plans that students used for multiple clubs and classes.

There were two Junior High entries in the 2018 E-Fair.  The first was Raylyn Anderes who presented her business idea centered around horse training and boarding.  The second junior high entry was a team of Aaron Sterling and Mason McMains.  Their food truck idea centered around converting an old bus to cut down on the startup costs. Each won a $50 prize!

In the High School entries, Deric Luong won a $150 prize and a $100 marketing award from Nex-Gen Round Up for Youth for his coffee shop/student designed merchandise business idea. Daniel and Cooper McDill talked about their existing mowing business and won second place with a $350 award. First place went to Sam Underwood and Jaclyn Yelken for their metal works business idea with a $900 prize.  Their business RH Metals is an existing effort that is run through the Ag Shop at Rock Hills High School and showcased exterior business signs that they have actually completed.  A $100 donation was given to the Rock Hills High School Ag Department for being an integral part of the winning entry.

Entrepreneurship is important to rural areas like Jewell County, because more often than not, homegrown businesses are how our area has grown.  It used to be thought that luring a large corporation, that would employee hundreds of people, was the solution.  Now, it has been shown that a strong adult and student entrepreneurial ecosystem can grow the economy by leaps and bounds.

Thanks to all of the students, parents, administrators, and teachers for supporting this effort! Thanks to Caleb Mahin, Natalie Frost, Sara Reiter, Brian Shulda, and Jim Dooley for helping with the day.  There has been outstanding business community support of this event every year.  These businesses who are supporting our youth include:  Guaranty State Bank & Trust, Central National Bank, Bohnert Welding, Randall Farmers Coop, Keith & Bethany Roe, Cunningham Communications, Jewell Implement, Mankato Pharmacy, Sen. Elaine Bowers, Midway Coop, Farmway Credit Union, State Exchange Bank, Mahin Insurance, Nex-Gen Round Up for Youth, NCK Tech, and JenRus Freelance

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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