College News

Barton Community College student wins $4,000 in entrepreneurship competition

Student holding grand prize award
Barton Community College student and entrepreneur Jacie Roth received first place at the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge in April for her homemade treats business, 161 Candy.

May 2, 2023
Story by Maggie Harris
Courtesy photo submitted

Jacie Roth has always had a sweet tooth and a passion for baking, so when she and her mother decided to launch a homemade treats business, 161 Candy, she had no idea it would lead to future learning opportunities.

Roth graduated from Phillipsburg High School in 2021 and joined the Barton Community College family as a freshman the following fall, and she has enrolled in several business-related courses. However, there are two that she attributes much of her success to, Introduction to Business and Marketing, both taught by Business Computer Management Instructor Deanna Heier. She was invited to participate in the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge (KEC) hosted by Kansas State University (KSU) through these classes.

Heier said she immediately thought of Jacie when she heard about the KEC.

“Jacie is a real leader in class and has so much initiative to really reach for her dreams and work really hard to achieve them,” she said.

Throughout the business and marketing courses, Roth was tasked with developing a business and marketing plan for a real or fake business.

“I chose to refine 161 Candy within these projects, and the KEC seemed to fit right in with the work I was currently doing in my classes,” she said. “I felt that this competition was a great opportunity for me to showcase the business we have created and gain more publicity for our business as well.”

Roth submitted an executive summary and an ‘elevator’ pitch video. This submission secured her a spot as a finalist in the KEC. On April 20, Roth traveled to Manhattan to compete in the live competition on the KSU campus. The live competition consisted of a tradeshow competition where she would explain her business proposal to the attendees, mostly made up of KSU students, staff, faculty, and community members, who would then vote for their favorite businesses. She also presented her business and marketing plan for 161 Candy to a panel of KEC judges.

“I put countless hours into preparation for the competition by creating several professional presentation boards, purchasing packaging supplies that fit the event theme, printing hundreds of pictures, designing a product scrapbook, preparing a speech, figuring out possible table layouts, and making delicious treats to be displayed and given to judges,” she said.

Out of the six finalists in the college division, 161 Candy took home first place in both the tradeshow and the KEC-judged competitions. Roth won a total of $4,000 that she will use toward funding new kitchen equipment for her business expansion.

“I am beyond grateful for this opportunity that was presented to me,” she said. “I am very proud of all the hard work that I put in to make this all possible.”

Heier said it was exciting to see Roth implement what she learned in the classroom to take her business to the next level.

“Jacie’s dedication and passion for her business is apparent and paid off during her competition this spring,” she said. “I am very proud of her for all her accomplishments and very excited to see how her business will grow.”