Media Contact:

Amara Kniep


E-Community Partnership

[email protected]



Date: January 12, 2023

For Immediate Release




(Wichita, KS) – NetWork Kansas, a Kansas-based nonprofit dedicated to the growth of entrepreneurship and small businesses, is rolling out its entrepreneurship competition software platform, VentureDash®, nationally. The platform, which officially launched in 2020 across Kansas and at several pilot sites at colleges and universities, currently has 129 published competitions with 6,250 registered users. Of those registered, 4,098 are entrepreneurs. The early pilot results have validated the market needs for the product, which is leading to the national roll-out.

“The platform has saved us time and money,” said Dr. Chad Jackson of Kansas State University, who is a frequent user of VentureDash® for the annual statewide competition, the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge.

VentureDash® streamlines the organization of entrepreneurship competitions by giving hosts a suite of resources including: competition planning timelines, entry collection options, contestant and judge registration templates, scoring rubrics, a full scoring system, leaderboards, and more. Since its launch, the user experience has evolved from solely managing student entrepreneurship competitions to include featuring college business competitions, innovation challenges and pitch competitions for adults.

To further its national roll-out, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially approved, in November, VentureDash® as a registered trademark of NetWork Kansas.

“NetWork Kansas is so excited to be able to offer VentureDash® to organizations across the US who are engaged in entrepreneurship competitions – whether it’s for youth, or adult-style competitions,” said Amara Kniep, Director, E-Community Partnership for NetWork Kansas, which created the VentureDash® platform. “We truly believe VentureDash® is the best way to run a business competition. It has everything you need to plan and execute your event, all in one place.”

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development, includes entrepreneurship competitions among the work of emerging and vibrant entrepreneurship “ecosystems.” In its overview research, “What Are Entrepreneurial Ecosystems”, Kauffman writes: “The essence of an entrepreneurial ecosystem is its people and the culture of trust and collaboration that allows them to interact successfully. An ecosystem that allows for the fast flow of talent, information, and resources helps entrepreneurs quickly find what they need at each stage of growth.”

The Daily Yonder, which featured NetWork Kansas and its e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, highlighted business competitions’ roles as a talent retention strategy in rural communities.

“These [pitch competitions] kind of represent a broader wraparound strategy that if you’re doing business competitions or pitch competitions, you also have the opportunity to have these larger conversations, either at a personal level or at a community level with young people,” said Don Macke, of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in the article. “If you then begin to build some of these other pieces around it, the community can optimize positive outcomes both for young people but also for the community.”

For an overview of the YEC competitions, which are featured on VentureDash, please visit:

For more information about VentureDash®, please visit: or to schedule an overview call about the platform, contact, Amara Kniep: [email protected] or 316-425-8832.


VentureDash® is a digital platform that features end-to-end solutions for managing business competitions. VentureDash®, which launched in 2020 and has a user base of 6,000 people and growing, is emerging as the best platform, nationally, to host and manage business competitions for young people and adults. VentureDash® is a product of NetWork Kansas, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to making entrepreneurship a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas and beyond. Visit:



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