FEBRUARY 7-9, 2020
Building Entrepreneurial Teams and Testing Ideas

Experience the highs, lows, fun and pressure of developing a business idea and working in a startup environment. Whether participating for credit or not, all students at Nebraska are welcome to bring a business idea – no matter how developed it is – and form teams to develop those early-stage ideas in this immersive experience. Undergraduate students may choose to participate for credit by enrolling in a one-credit-hour pop-up class OR for by registering for the experience (just $10 to cover meals). Both options require registration using the form linked below.

calendar icon
February 7-9, 2020

Register Now

Undergraduate Pop-Up Class

Undergraduate students participating in the 48-Hour Challenge: Building Entrepreneurial Teams and Testing Ideas can enroll in a pop-up class worth one credit hour. The first pop-up class offered by the College of Business, the BSAD 191 Special Topics course includes the weekend experience as well as two additional individual assignments: preparing a Business Model Canvas on the business idea you worked on during the 48 Hour Challenge as well as writing a 3-5 page reflections report on your experience.

To participate, you’ll need to enroll in the course – The 48-Hour Challenge: Building Entrepreneurial Teams and Testing Ideas (BSAD 191) – in MyRed as well as complete the registration form. Questions about registering for the pop-up class? Email entrepreneurship@unl.edu


How It Works

The weekend is all centered on action, innovation and education. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through testing, business model development, and basic prototype creation, 48-Hour Challenge culminates in Sunday night demos to a panel of potential investors and local entrepreneurs.

Participants are challenged with building functional startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. Mentors and coaches will be available throughout the weekend to offer their functional expertise.

Frequently Asked Questions


Day 1: Friday, February 7

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Howard L. Hawks Hall, students will briefly describe their ideas or skills, compare and vote on ideas, and form their teams. Everyone will find a place for their skills, passion and talents on one of the teams.

After team building and role allocation, the clock starts ticking! Teams have the next two days to develop their product or service, do market research and customer discovery, collaborate with partners and experts, and refine their presentation pitch. In doing so, teams will go through the trials and tribulations of solving real-world problems by interviewing, e.g., customers, experts, entrepreneurs, investors and/or even developing a prototype.

5:30 p.m. – Pizza and Networking Game
6 p.m. – Welcome, Pitches, Teams Form

Day 2: Saturday, February 8

Starting at 9 a.m., this day is about fine tuning your idea through customer discovery, working through the business model canvas, meeting with mentors and leveraging the skills and strengths of your team members.

9 a.m. – Breakfast
9:30 a.m. – Learning Session
9:45 a.m. – Teamwork
12 p.m. – Lunch
1 p.m. – Mentor Meet and Help
2 p.m. – Learning Session
5 p.m. – Dinner
6 p.m. – Check-in and Continue Working

Day 3: Sunday, February 9

Refined plans are pulled together over the day and worked into a presentation that will be delivered on Sunday evening. Each team will present their ideas and research to a panel of judges from the local business community. As well as receiving prizes for their final presentation, students can also win awards for posting about their entrepreneurial experience on social media; being the fastest team to take real-world action on their idea; and for the most entertaining presentation (as voted for by the audience).

9 a.m. – Breakfast
9:30 a.m – Learning Session
10 a.m. – Mentor Time
12:30 p.m. – Lunch
1 p.m. – Mentor Help
4:30 p.m. – Dinner
5:30 p.m. – Presentations
6:30 p.m. – Judging and Awards

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m a student majoring in a subject other than business, should I consider participating?

The short answer is: yes! Our past participants spanned everything from an undergraduate in psychology to a freshly minted Ph.D. student. If you’re at all passionate about startups, it is likely that you will be a valuable participant.

Do I have to come with a business idea?

You are encouraged to come with a business idea – no matter how developed it is. However, don’t worry if you don’t have a business idea – just contribute your skills, drive, experience and networks as part of a team working on an idea.

Do I need to register with a team?

No! Contribute your skills, drive, experience and networks as part of a team that will form at the event.

What about food?

All meals, drinks and in-between snacks are catered. Those participating in the challenge without enrolling in the pop-up class will pay $10 to cover food in the event registration. If you enroll in the pop-up class, you won’t have any additional event registration cost for food.

If I participate, what do I get out of the experience?

The worst-case scenario is that you will work with brilliant people from numerous disciplines toward the common goal of building real companies and products. Whether you’re learning a new skill or a new way of thinking, the challenge offers the perfect opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and learn by doing. Great connections happen: cofounders meet, complementary skill sets collide and friends are made. The best-case scenario is that you will become a cofounder of a wildly successful new startup and go on to win the university’s New Venture Competition in April.

Immerse Yourself in the Startup Experience

Register Now


Center for Entrepreneurship
HLH 315