The Washburn University Be Ready Challenge

Challenge Goal:  To encourage entrepreneurially minded students to develop, pitch, and implement their ideas.    We hope that the Challenge will inspire students to consider entrepreneurship as a career.

The Challenge:

  1. Develop a startup idea or an innovation for a current business or organization. Ideas must have a startup or project cost of $500 or less.    Participating students receive an Innovation Box to guide the development of their idea.  Timeframe: January – March 2016.
  2. Pitch and submit a video of your idea. All student pitches must be three minutes or less.  Video pitches must be submitted by 5 PM on Thursday, March 31, 2016.
  3. Start by implementing your idea. Students selected as finalists will receive $500 to implement their idea.  Designed to encourage a real-life business experience, students will start and track their results. Timeframe: Summer 2016. 
  4. Win a scholarship to Washburn University. Finalists will be invited to Washburn University to showcase their project and present the results of their startup or innovation idea in a final round presentation. Academic scholarships will be awarded to all finalists and the top entrepreneur or team will receive a $2,500 academic scholarship.   Timeframe: September 2016.  

Steps to Signup:

  1. All high school students in Brown, Nemaha, Jackson, and Shawnee counties for the 2015/2016 academic year are eligible. To participate, the school advisor (teacher) must first register the school for the competition.   Visit, click on “Register” and notice the link for high school registration at the top of the page. 
  2. A single student or a team of no more than two students may accept the Challenge. If forming a team, both students must participate in each stage (development, pitch, implementation, and final presentation) to be eligible for a final scholarship award.    Student(s) can sign up for the Challenge online at Click on Register. 

Pitch Round Rules

  1. Ideas must be new and have a startup or project cost of $500 or less. Eligible projects include ideas that solve problems, introduce something new or an improvement for an existing business or organization, or serve an underserved market.
  2. Student pitches must be not more than 3 minutes. Visual aids are permitted, such as poster boards, handouts, prototypes, etc. that may support or explain your project.  Students are not allowed to use PowerPoint or a computer during the Pitch Round presentation.
  3. All pitch presentations must be uploaded to YouTube and shared with Washburn University for selection of the competition finalists. Online pitch videos will be posted on the website
  4. Finalists will be notified by email and letter and will be presented with their $500 startup award in class or in a school presentation.

Final Round Rules

  1. During the final round, entrepreneur students and teams will have a maximum of 10 minutes for presentation and an additional five minutes to answer questions.
  2. If presenting as a team, both entrepreneur students must orally present and answer questions.

 Scholarship Award:

  1. After the final round presentations at Washburn University, academic scholarships will be awarded to all finalists and the top placing student(s).  The entrepreneur student or team finishing first in the Challenge will receive a scholarship award of $2,500 per student.  It is estimated that over $20,000 in scholarships will be awarded in this year’s competition. 
  2. School of Business scholarship awards do require student(s) to enroll full time at Washburn and declare in a business related field.
  3. Scholarship award is valid for the 2016-2020 academic years and will be split equally between the fall and spring semesters.
  4. Scholarship recipients must maintain a 3.25 GPA to maintain scholarship eligibility.
  5. Recipients will receive an official award notification letter from Washburn.

Questions about the Be Ready Challenge can be emailed to Rick LeJuerrne at