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Updated: September 25, 2022 @ 1:45 pm
Two little goats. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but perhaps it could be the beginning of an entrepreneurial career.
Today we’ll meet a young rural-preneur who is using her two little goats to learn the principles of entrepreneurship for the future.
Kansas Lange is a teenager who won her county’s Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in spring 2022. Kansas and her family live in Garfield, in Pawnee County.
Her father is Charles Lange, a K-State grad and public health veterinarian in Dodge City. While inspecting the packing plant in Dodge, Dr. Lang met one of the workers, Sabrina, who is originally from New Mexico. They married, moved to Garfield, and now have two daughters and a son.
Kansas is the younger daughter. “My grandfather suggested they name me Kansas because that is where they met,” Kansas said.
Kansas became very active in 4-H. “I’m homeschooled, so this is my creative outlet and my opportunity to meet people in the community,” Kansas said.
In addition to showing multiple species of livestock, she enrolled in such projects as shooting sports, woodworking, clothing and textiles, and foods and nutrition.
Kyle Grant is the K-State Research and Extension 4-H agent in Pawnee County. “Kansas has excelled in our Pawnee County shooting sports program,” Grant said. “She also excels at livestock judging, meats judging and skillathon, where she earned the opportunity to go to the national contest in Louisville, Kentucky. She is a good role model for Pawnee County 4-H’ers.”
Kansas learned about the Pawnee County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, sponsored by NetWork Kansas. YEC is a sequence of community-based entrepreneurship competitions for students in grades 6-12, culminating in a state championship. Students present their conceptual or business ideas to judges and compete against others in their age division locally. The top contestants advance to the state finals, held in April at K-State in partnership with the College of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurship and the Kansas Masons.
Erik Pedersen is president and COO of NetWork Kansas. “When you walk into one of these events at a middle school or high school, you see a student standing there with a tabletop display that they’ve created,” he said. “They’re dressed up and talking to a group of adult judges; they’re shaking hands, they’re making eye contact, they’re answering questions about their project or business idea. The life skills that they’re gaining will put them miles ahead of their peers.”
Kansas thought about what project she might enter in this competition. As a teenager, she was experiencing acne on her skin and looking for better skin treatments. “I found a lot of articles that said that goat milk soap could help,” she said. No big city stores carried such products nearby, but she could raise dairy goats and make soap of her own.
Kansas got two Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats that she milked twice daily, did the research and developed a process for producing scented goat milk soap. It worked so well that she wanted to share the products with others and started selling the product locally. She named her business Two Little Goats.
“My mom has a degree in business, so she could help with the business side, and my dad helped with the science and biology,” Kansas said.
She entered her project in the Pawnee County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. In 2022, she took first place and advanced to state.
At the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s 2022 Ag Growth Summit, Kansas spoke about her project at the entrepreneurship breakout session.
“I especially enjoyed doing the research and thinking on my feet when the judges ask questions,” she said.
She’s a remarkable young woman from the rural community of Garfield, population 151 people. Now, that’s rural.
More information about YEC is available online.
How do we as a state develop and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs? The Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is a great step in the right direction.
We commend Kansas Lange and all those involved with YEC for making a difference with their ideas and business development.
A big career in business just might begin with two little goats.
We’re always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what’s going on!
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