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Grow Hays is your partner in business success. Whether you are starting a new business, expanding an existing business, adding to your workforce, need to find financing, or just don’t know where to start on a problem, Grow Hays is here to assist.

Give us a call to find out how we can assist you in your business success.




Coming in February 2020!!!

Click image for more information!



The e2 – Entrepreneurial Ecosystems believes in empowering research – making data-driven decisions about economic development to be more strategic and, ultimately, create the kinds of economic development outcomes and long-term community or regional prosperity you desire. We work hard to build tools and resources that communities can use to access and understand data and turn that raw information into knowledge you can apply in your community. This Development Opportunity Profile was prepared for Ellis County in Kansas by the e2 and Network Kansas for the Ellis County E-Community Teams.

This Development Opportunity Profile is a start on a pathway to prosperity. But, it is only a start. It reflects one view of your region, based on secondary data. We challenge you to build on this work, draw on your own knowledge of the region and its assets, and create a deeper understanding of your unique development opportunities. Then use this understanding to craft and implement a smart development game plan. We hope this Development Opportunity Profile is helpful and contributes to your future development success.

REPORT is linked here - - - - > 2019 DOP Ellis County




Do you have a business idea?

pITch  -  what's your bright idea?
Date to be Announced soon!
630pm at BriefSpace

Grow Hays - Investing in Ellis County is holding a competition for entrepreneurs, prospective startups or existing business owners to present their business idea to three judges and an audience. Plus, the winner will receive $500!

Those interested in making presentations should contact Grow Hays at 785.628.3102 or emailing There will only be FIVE presenters with ideas!

CLICK HERE for the application - - - - - >  pITch application

YEC - Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge


Ellis County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series Winners!.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

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Grow Hays, in association with Network Kansas E-Community Partnership, hosted the first annual Ellis County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019, at BriefSpace in downtown Hays.  Twenty-nine students from Hays High School (HHS) and Thomas More Prep Marion (TMP) presented 22 business concepts.

Ellis County high school students were invited to register for the event, upload written executive summaries, create a “trade show booth” and give a 4-minute presentation to judges.  The students’ work was judged by Sarah LaRosh, Network Kansas Rural Entrepreneurial Manager, Western Region, Dr. David Snow, Director of Entrepreneurship at Fort Hays State University and Errol Wuertz, a local Hays Masonic Lodge member and a realtor with Landmark Realty.

The winning business concepts were:

First place ($900):  Ethan Lang, TMP, Making Cents of Finance; 

Second place ($600):   Leanne Rack and Tiffany Pfeifer, TMP, PR Riding

Third place ($300):  Jacob Maska, HHS, Maska Photography;

Midwest Energy - Best Trade Show award ($200):  Ethan Lang; Making Cents of Finance

Sunflower Electric Power Corporation - People’s Choice award ($200):   Ethan Lang; Making Cents of Finance

Nex-Tech - Ready to Launch award ($200):  Sydney Davis; Sydney’s Sweets

In addition to prizes and recognition, the first-place finisher automatically qualified to compete in the 2019 Statewide Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge ( ) on April 30 at Kansas State University in Manhattan. All other teams can apply for 15 wild card positions at that same event. The state event will include the winners of the other YEC events across the state. Dr. David Snow invited Ethan Lang to also participate in the Faulkner Challenge on March 30th at Fort Hays State University.

The goal of the YEC competition is to expose Kansas middle school and high school students to entrepreneurship and give them hands-on experience.

Ellis County’s YEC event was organized by Grow Hays with generous support from Fort Hays State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Midwest Energy, Nex-Tech, Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, Robert E. Schmidt Foundation and NetWork Kansas E-Community  Partnership.

For more information, contact Ernee Sly at (785) 628.3102 or  For more information about Network Kansas or the E-Community Partnership, visit

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Details and more photos can be found on our FB Page -


We are Grow Hays!


For Immediate Release

June 12, 2018


Local Economic Development Organization

Announces New Name and New Location

 During the March 2018 meeting of the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development's Board of Directors, the group unanimously voted to change its name to Grow Hays. The change in name to Grow Hays is but one of many outcomes associated with the organization's ongoing evolution and rebranding effort. 

Long known for its efforts to promote a robust local economy through business creation, retention/expansion and recruitment, Grow Hays has offered instrumental support toward numerous community successes. A few of those many successes include the arrival of Hobby Lobby, a soon to be constructed convention center, development of innovative job training initiatives, and BriefSpace, a co-working space.

Grow Hays manages and will relocate to BriefSpace in early July. BriefSpace, located at 219 West 10th Street in Downtown Hays, is a shared working environment for work at home professionals, start-up entrepreneurs and traveling business owners/employees and consultants.

As another part of its evolution, Grow Hays reduced the size of its governing board from 23 to 13 members, with the stipulation that the communities of Ellis, Hays and Victoria shall each be represented by having at least one of its residents included on the board. 2018 board members include Ron Fields, Joannah Applequist, Lance Bickle, Joseph Boeckner, Les Brown, Karen Dreiling, Eddie Herrman, Mary Martin, Bob Muirhead, Deron O'Connor, Doug Williams and Mike Downing (Ellis representative). The Victoria representative seat is currently vacant and the group continues to seek applications for the remaining position.

“Grow Hays is dedicated to promoting economic growth in Ellis County. The re-branding, new board of directors and BriefSpace co-working project are examples of how we are working towards our mission of business creation, retention/expansion and recruitment,” said Doug Williams, Interim Director. 


Welcome to Grow Hays Online

Hays, America is a university community of 20,862 people located half way between Kansas City and Denver on Interstate 70. We are the regional hub of Northwest Kansas for retail, education, medical service, entertainment, and recreation. Ellis County annually has one of the top retail pull factors in the state.

Our downtown is being revitalized with unique shops and entertainment and the north side of town is expanding with additional retail offerings. We have a very diversified mix of businesses in the area although agriculture and oil are still major parts of the regional economy. The Hays Regional Airport offers four commercial flights each day to Denver. And, according to recent rankings by Progressive Farmer, E-Podunk, and BizJournal; Hays, America has a great quality of life. We happen to agree. Ellis County is also the home of two bedroom communities Ellis and Victoria.


Location Map

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For one on one assistance
with your job search

You can reach them at 785.625.5654
or stop by the local KANSASWORKS office -
332 East 8th Street
Hays, Kansas 67601

Contact Us

Grow Hays or
Hays Has
219 West 10th
Hays, Kansas 67601
Phone: 785-628-3102

Doug Williams / Director

Ernee Sly  / Office Manager