Aspiring entrepreneurs to compete in New Venture Competition

· 2 min read

Aspiring entrepreneurs to compete in New Venture Competition

Erika Casarin, '22, talks about her startup, PALETTE, to judges during the final round of the 2022 New Venture Competition. She won $12,500 for her business.
Erika Casarin talks about her startup, PALETTE, to judges during the final round of the 2022 New Venture Competition. A 2022 graduate, Casarin won $12,500 for her business.

The New Venture Competition on April 4 and 6 offers University of Nebraska–Lincoln students the opportunity to stretch their thinking, pitch business plans and compete for a $15,000 grand prize and additional cash prizes.

The top four finishers will have the opportunity for further investment of up to $25,000 from the Husker Venture Fund. Undergraduate and graduate students must register for the competition by March 24.

The Center for Entrepreneurship coordinates Nebraska entrepreneurs, investors, business and community leaders to serve as judges for the competition. On the first day, students compete in a bracket-style format by presenting a 15-minute business plan to the judges, followed by a 10-minute question and answer session. On the second day, the four winners from each bracket compete against each other for various amounts of cash prizes.

“The cash prizes are certainly an attraction for competitors and can be important to kick-start or grow a business. But the competition is not just about the money. The experience of writing a plan, pitching it to a panel and responding to some fairly tough questions is a fantastic method of refining and testing business ideas and a way for students to build confidence,” said Samantha Fairclough, associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and assistant professor of practice in management.

Student competitors can get free mentoring to improve their plans and prepare their presentations by stopping into the Center for Entrepreneurship in Hawks Hall room 315, prior to the competition.

The competition begins at 9 a.m. April 4 in the Nebraska Union, with finalists determined by the end of the day. The final four compete at 1 p.m. April 6 at the Sheldon Museum of Art auditorium. An awards presentation and reception will follow.

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