For two years, MECA Challenge has been working with Kansas City’s students to instill an entrepreneurial mindset.
This fall, organizers are all-in with the first of five MECA Challenges of the season set for tomorrow, Friday, at Blue Valley CAPS.
The program is a one-day event for student groups in which they work on teams with entrepreneurs and startup companies to learn how to tackle real-world business problems. MECA is operated by the Center of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development, or CEED.
Abby Tillman, director of marketing at Affinity Enterprise Group and former director of student engagement for CEED said doing day-long events the last few years gave CEED a better idea of “what KC has an appetite for,” which is a catch-all event for students to become immersed in the startup life.
“The reason we’ve gotten so much more traction is change in format, and the schools are starting to realize the traditional way they were doing education isn’t working the way they wanted it to,” Tillman said. “This keeps students engaged in creative problem solving. Schools are wanting to find a way to make it work, and at a minimal cost to them.”
The cost for the one-day program begins at $2,000, and CEED handles planning and communication with startups and speakers.
Corey Mohn, Blue Valley CAPS executive director, said the program helps align students’ personal passions with the opportunity to find solutions to meaningful problems.
“In the professional world, you are not given linear assignments,” he said. “Those who succeed are able to be nimble and proactive. The ability to work on a team, communicate effectively and manage time often trumps content knowledge and skill sets. The MECA Challenge is an event that places students in a situation to further develop and refine these ‘soft skills,’ which are absolutely critical in today’s post-secondary and professional environments.”
Tillman said organizing the challenges during the beginning of the school year works well to help trigger students thinking critically and creatively, with the hope from administrators that those skills will then resonate in the classroom.
For more information on MECA Challenge, click here.