The Center for Entrepreneurship in the UNL College of Business Administration will host new venture competitions for university students throughout the nation during EntrepreneuringDays@UNL, March 18-20 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 1040 P St. The event will also feature the UNL Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards Dinner at 6:30 p.m. March 19 at the Embassy Suites.
The new venture competitions are conducted much like the television show “Shark Tank,” where students pitch their business ideas to a panel of business professionals who serve as judges.
The 17th UNL New Venture Competition will be March 18. UNL students will compete for a grand prize of $50,000 to be used to fund their business. They also win automatic entry into the Global New Venture Competition March 20.
Graduate and undergraduate teams from some of the world’s top universities will compete in the Global Competition. In its 27th year, this is one of the nation’s longest running competition of its kind. The winner of the graduate division has automatic entry into the 2014 Global Venture Labs Investment Competition sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin.
The UNL Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards Dinner will honor seven entrepreneurs for their innovation, success and entrepreneurial spirit. The honorees include:
Nebraska Distinguished Entrepreneur Award – David Graff, founder and chief executive officer; Brian Kaiser, founder and chief technology officer; and John Wirtz, founder and chief product officer; of Hudl. The three were undergraduate students in UNL’s Jeffrey S. Raikes School when they started Hudl in 2007. The company provides online video analysis and coaching tools that help teams at all levels win. It serves high school, college and professional football teams as well as other sports including soccer, basketball, volleyball and lacrosse. In 2013, Inc. Magazine recognized Hudl as the 149th fastest growing private company in the U.S. and the fastest-growing private company in Nebraska.
New Company Entrepreneur Awards – Julie Mahloch, founder and chief executive officer of Bloom.com; and Paul Jarrett, chief executive officer, and Stephanie Jarrett, chief marketing officer, of Bulu Box. Mahloch, of Omaha, is a serial entrepreneur and innovator who started her first company more than 20 years ago. She has more than 15 years’ experience revolutionizing e-commerce business through her founding GiftCertificates.com and Hayneedle.com. The Jarretts founded the Lincoln-based Bulu Box in 2012. Bulu Box has revolutionized the vitamin- and supplement-buying experience, giving consumers a new way to sample, shop, share and learn about the best products available.
Start-up Executive Award – Joe Petsick, vice president of business development of Proxibid, which provides a trusted online marketplace for buying and selling excess assets in 190 countries around the globe. He co-founded the company in 2001.
To RSVP for the dinner, go to http://go.unl.edu/x2np.
Students and business community members can attend educational sessions held during the event, including:
March 18: 9:30 a.m. – “Entrepreneurship Research and Teaching,” Prem Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development at UNL, and Theresa Welbourne, FirsTier Banks Distinguished Professor of Business and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. 3 p.m. – “Commercializing Ideas, Leveraging Assets, Understanding and Building Market Share,” a panel discussion featuring Joan Mudget, vice president of global product quality at Lululemon, Paul Taylor of Long Splice Design and Walter Wilhelm, chairman at Walter Wilhelm Associates LLC.
March 19: 1:30 p.m. – “Franchise as an Avenue for Growth” with Paul Hogan, co-founder and chairman of Home Instead Senior Care. 2:30-4 p.m. – breakout sessions, “Making Yourself Legally Attractive: Avoiding Common Pitfalls, led by Brett Stohs, assistant clinical professor of law at UNL and director of the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic at Cline Williams; “Social Networking and Creating Buzz,” led by Terence Bowden, business accelerator director, Nebraska Innovation Campus; and an open forum on the Big Red Challenge.