Ad Astra Radio Family Brands

Fort Hays State Students Win Entrepreneurial Challenge


By University Communications


HAYS, Kan. — A team of students from Fort Hays State narrowly edged out a University of Connecticut team in the inaugural Werth Entrepreneurship Challenge on Nov. 29. The event, sponsored by Peter Werth in collaboration with FHSU’s Department of Applied Technology, challenged participants from FHSU and UCONN with developing start-up business plans focused on sustainable energy, particularly in inventing, designing, and manufacturing portable charging station.

The first-place team received $15,000 in prize money, with the second-place team receiving $10,000.

Students were judged on presentation style, business plan summary, and founder(s) and venture viability. FHSU’s business plan, True Sustainable Energy, focused on a permanent charging station called the “WattSpot,” a charging station that combines green energy technology, comfort of nature, and ease of work into one concept. UCONN’s team created “Solar Sync,” an ADA-compliant charging station that included LED lighting and an e-scooter charging station.

Eric Deneault, associate professor of engineering design technology at FHSU, served as chief organizer and host for the challenge. “The accomplishments of FHSU and UNCONN students are a testament to their exceptional talents, reflecting positively on their respective universities,” Deneault said. “The experience has been one-of-a-kind, offering valuable educational insight for all participants.

FHSU team members include Tuley Gilliand, KAMS student, Holton; John Brody Groves, senior, Tonganoxie; Bryce Steffan, KAMS student, Ellinwood; Austin Radke, sophomore, Halstead; Sullivan Kelly, senior, Davenport, Iowa; and Joey Olsen, senior, Olathe.

“I am excited about the future evolution of this challenge and the potential for a lasting partnership, fostering entrepreneurship and collaboration among bright young minds from different institutions,” Deneault said. “I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Peter Werth for sponsoring the event, UCONN for their participation, the judges, and my administration for their continued support of undergraduate research and entrepreneurship. Truly a team effort.”