Startup experience helps students discover entrepreneurial spirit

· 3 min read

Startup experience helps students discover entrepreneurial spirit

 Team members discuss a mobile app business called CornSoyWater during the 3DS Engler Startup Experience.
Courtesy photo | Liz Uehling
Team members discuss a mobile app business called CornSoyWater during the 3DS Engler Startup Experience.

Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy task. Passion for your business is not enough. Successful entrepreneurship takes hard work and dedication through the many challenges that startup companies face.

Recently, students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln had the opportunity to work through these challenges first-hand and discover their entrepreneurial spirit.

The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, in conjunction with 3 Day Startup, held the inaugural 3DS Engler Startup Experience Sept. 18-20 on UNL’s East Campus. Fifty students participated in the weekend event designed to develop entrepreneurial skills in a hands-on environment.

“The idea is not to do the work for the students; we just create an environment that enables them to explore their ideas,” said Andrew Zimbroff, UNL assistant professor and extension specialist. “The outcomes from the weekend came from the motivation of the students.”

The students came with an idea that they had the opportunity to develop and present through mock investor pitches. Industry panelists were on hand to provide feedback and judge the viability of the businesses. By the end of the weekend, nine businesses were created.

Haley Bledsoe is a junior animal science major at UNL, minoring in entrepreneurship. During the event, Bledsoe and her teammates developed a business called Running Buddy, a mobile app that pairs dog owners to people who could walk their dogs. Running Buddy was one of two businesses selected at the end of the weekend to join a startup pre-accelerator development program offered by Lincoln-based company NMotion.

“The 3DS Engler Startup Experience really helped me become more confident with pitching ideas,” Bledsoe said. “It was a very inspiring weekend because we had the opportunity to network with people who have a similar passion for entrepreneurship.”

Many of the participants in the event, including Bledsoe, are Engler Entrepreneurship students. The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program aims to support and encourage entrepreneurship among students. Its mission is to empower enterprise builders. The program has a strategic intent to start 50 new ventures by 2020, according to director Tom Field.

The program also focuses on helping students transform the resources of the nation’s strength in agriculture into the next big idea. Of the nine businesses created during the 3DS Engler Startup Experience, five were agriculturally based. For more information on the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, visit

The mission of 3 Day Startup is to kick-start new student-run companies and build entrepreneurial capabilities in students and their university communities. Since 2008, over 120 schools have hosted a 3 Day Startup event, with over 8,600 participants. The experiential workshop has launched over 90 companies. For more information, visit

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