Teen entrepreneurs participating in Nebraska’s Future Builders Challenge will showcase their start-up business from 5 to 7 p.m. June 27 in Howard L. Hawks Hall.
The event will feature the 22 Lincoln high school students’ T-shirt business and include a runway show of designs that signify the positive local impact they aspire to have in Nebraska. The launch event is free and open to the public.
The Future Builders Challenge is a four-part program through which the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools is collaborating with the community to help students in find their full potential and develop leadership skills. The cadre of 22 students was selected from more than 3,200 applicants assessed through Gallup’s Builder Profile 10.
The students are completing an intensive, month-long session within the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Clifton Strengths Institute. Their study within the institute, which is part of Nebraska’s College of Business, is the final step in the Future Builders Challenge.
“The Future Builders have been challenged throughout the program to learn about their strengths through practice. Whether they were coordinating events in the classroom or selling T-shirts around the Lincoln community, students were able to see how they naturally excel,” said Taylor Lofdahl, program coordinator of the Clifton Strengths Institute. “Using this knowledge, the Future Builders were asked to create their own teams at each step of the process, acknowledging their own talents and those of their peers to best accomplish individual and team goals to create a successful business.”
Other elements of the challenge included taking the Gallup Builder Profile assessment; an Inspiration Rally at Nebraska Innovation Campus for about 500 students in March; and a Boot Camp and Pitch Competition at the College of Business in April.
Throughout the challenge, students have been taught by leaders from the university, Gallup and private sector.
“By wearing any of the T-shirt designs, you’re showing that you’re supportive of not only these students, but building a better community.”
— Samantha Kennelly, Clifton Strengths Institute
Students who participated in the finale of the challenge have worked to address three goals outlined by Prosper Lincoln: What should the community do to ensure youth are successful, the economy grows and the community remains strong and vibrant. They also worked with local entrepreneurs and business leaders to develop strengths, entrepreneurial skills, leadership and dedication to build a successful team and profitable T-shirt business.
Each T-shirt designed by the students reflects social causes they feel should be important to the Lincoln community. Those causes include equality; finding a happy place filled with hope, motivation and positivity; inspiring young people to innovate and build something new in Nebraska; and “Bee Happy,” which raises awareness about saving pollinators.
“One future builder has his own bee business and believes supporting bees would be beneficial to Lincoln farmers,” said Samantha Kennelly, assistant director of the institute. “By wearing any of the T-shirt designs, you’re showing that you’re supportive of not only these students, but building a better community.”
Shirts will be available for purchase during the launch event.
The Future Builders program in Lincoln is sponsored by Gallup, Nelnet, Spreetail, Bill Cintani, Lincoln Industries, The Jim and Penny Krieger Family Foundation, Prosper Lincoln, Don’t Panic Labs, Ameritas, Lincoln Community Foundation, Select Lincoln | Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, Assurity Life Insurance Company, The Strengths Lab, Accelerate Nebraska and the Clifton Strengths Institute at the College of Business.