By NetWork Kansas

YEC Success Story Feature

Lakin Denny is from Colby, Ks., and is the daughter of JJ & Lori Denny. Lakin was blessed with a beautiful talent for art. She is a past YEC participant. Lakin received the Chuck Dempewolf $500 scholarship and the Joyce Lauritsen Gatlin $500 scholarship through the Thomas County Community Foundation. Lakin will be attending K-State this fall majoring in Marketing with a minor in Art. Lakin hopes to continue selling her artwork post college.

NetWork Kansas: What inspired you to participate in YEC?
Lakin: Even though participating in YEC was a requirement of an entrepreneurship/computer class that I took in 8th grade, I was very excited for the competition and started formulating my idea for it about a year leading up to the class. I had always loved art and starting an art business in the future was a huge goal of mine. I followed some amazing artists on social media and I wanted to try to replicate what they were doing so I figured I would try it! YEC was a perfect bridge to reach my goal of starting a business.”
NetWork Kansas: What did you gain from participating in YEC?
Lakin: The requirements for the competition gave me many aspects to think about before starting a business — questions about pricing, what type of art I wanted to sell, branding, marketing, and more had to be answered. It gave me time to think about and research these topics as well as learning how to pitch my idea to a panel of judges. It was a great learning experience.
NetWork Kansas: What is your reaction to receiving the Chuck Depewolf $500 scholarship and the Joyce Lauritsen Gatlin $500 scholarship through the Thomas County Community Foundation?
Lakin: I was very grateful and appreciative! The funds that these individuals and families have made available for students is a great blessing. They will truly aid me so much in paying for my college education.
NetWork Kansas:  Where can people find your artwork?
Lakin: I post my artwork on my Instagram and Facebook I can be contacted through my socials and [through email]. I am also currently working on a website, which will be linked on my socials once it’s completed!

About the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC)

YEC is a sequence of community-based entrepreneurship competitions for students in grades 7-12, culminating in a state championship. The YEC series gives students hands-on experience thinking entrepreneurially by creating, developing and presenting a business concept that addresses a problem or opportunity. Then, on a given day, students compete against one another in teams or individually. Students’ work is judge by local entrepreneurs, resource partners, teachers or other adults and prizes are awarded.

About NetWork Kansas

NetWork Kansas, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to making entrepreneurship a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas.  NetWork Kansas connects aspiring entrepreneurs, emerging and established businesses, to a deep network of business-building and community development resource organizations across the state.  NetWork Kansas is also the home of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (e2).  e2 provides best practice solutions to entrepreneurial ecosystem building in Kansas and nationally.

NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the E-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include availability of financial capital, support by local leadership and development of educational resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation and more.

For more information about the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership, visit, or call 877.521.8600



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