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2016 Entrepreneuring Days Award Winners Announced

The Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration hosted Entrepreneuring Days, April 5-6, at the City Union and the Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln, Nebraska. The event featured two new venture competitions with 64 teams, the Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards Banquet and three special programs for competitors new to this year’s event.
Students pitched their business ideas to a panel of professionals who served as judges for feedback and competed for more than $140,000 in prizes.
“This year we saw an elevated level of competition from our UNL teams. Multiple judges shared that the bar has been raised in terms of being able to advance to the finals in comparison to recent years,” said Dr. Sam Nelson, interim director for entrepreneurship and assistant professor of practice. “This is a testament not only to the education our students are receiving, but also to our business community who has been outstanding in terms of their willingness to coach and guide students through this process and to participate as judges. The competitors from other universities always appreciate the quality feedback and guidance our judges provide.”
Erdman, Nordgren, middle left/right, with advisor Ian Cottingham and Allison Rice, daughter of Thomas G. Guy
Erdman, Nordgren (middle l/r) w/advisor Ian Cottingham & Allison Rice, daughter of Thomas G. Guy
The 19th Annual UNL New Venture Competition featured two categories of undergraduate and graduate UNL students presenting. The top four teams advanced to the final round of presentations on April 6, where they competed for the grand prize of $50,000. The grand prize must be used to fund the business pitched in the competition. At the Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards Banquet, Nelson made an announcement that due to an anonymous donation, the runner-up prize in the competition would increase to $25,000.

“The surprise anonymous $25,000 donation to support the runner-up was amazing. It highlights the quality of our students and the support of the community,” Nelson said.
The Global New Venture competition on April 6 preceded the UNL New Venture competition finals. More than 30 teams pitched their business ideas for funding to a panel of business professionals who served as judges.
New events this year included an Entrepreneuring Days Meetup in Lincoln’s Railyard district, at which all competitors, judges, facilitators and friends were invited to gather after the first day of competition. On Wednesday, there was a seminar on leading with strengths with Mark Pogue, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Lab and assistant professor of practice at UNL, and a quick pitch competition for Entrepreneuring Days competitors to gain additional feedback.
Snyder (left) receiving award from Nelson
Snyder (left) receiving award from Nelson
On April 6, the UNL Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards Banquet honored four entrepreneurs for their innovation, success and entrepreneurial spirit.
“The energy in the room at the awards dinner highlights the excitement regarding entrepreneurship at UNL and the greater Nebraska community. It really is a special time for us,” said Nelson.
The honorees included:

• Nebraska Distinguished Entrepreneur Award – Larry L. Snyder was recognized for his lifelong entrepreneurial spirit. In the 1950s, he began Snyder Fiber Glass Co. and grew the company by offering a broad array of products for diverse applications, including storage/transportation containers for chemicals, material handling bins and a variety of specialty products utilized all over the world. He then sold the company, Snyder Industries Inc., in 1991.
• Start-up Executive Award  Joseph Knecht, is the managing director of Venture Tech, where he leads their business development and consulting teams. He plays a key role in the development of partner products from market validation and go-to-marketing strategies.
• New Company Entrepreneur Award – Matt Taylor is a successful bar owner in Lincoln who, with a business partner, opened Tavern on the Square in 2010. Steady growth led to opening The Other Room in 2013 and Inglenook in 2016.
• Entrepreneur Advocate Award – Gregg Christensen is the entrepreneurship and work-based learning specialist for the Nebraska Department of Education.
The UNL New Venture Competition winners were:
• Grand Prize, $50,000 – Concise Research Group, Ryan Erdmann, Palatine, Illinois, senior computer science and math major, and Derek Nordgren, Lincoln, senior computer engineering major. Concise Research Corporation uses comprehensive surveys and empirical data to assist governmental leaders in developing more effective public policies.
• Runner-Up Prize, $25,000 – Helping Oats, Anne Bachmann, Lincoln, sophomore management major. Helping Oats seeks to develop a healthy, fast-dining experience near college campuses centering around oatmeal.
• 1st Graduate Division, $5,000 – Bugeater, Julianne Kopf, Falls City, Nebraska, graduate student in food science and technology, and Kelly Sturek ’15, Lincoln. Bugeater creates nutritious and sustainable insect-based food products.
• 2nd Graduate Division, $3,000 – FanWord, Christopher Aumueller, Lincoln, Ph.D. student in management. Fanword is a comprehensive social network designed specifically for college athletics.
• 3rd Graduate Division, $2,000 each (two-way tie) – Hexswap.solution, Xin Ding, Shanghai, China, senior mechanical engineering major, andJie Cheng, Shanghai, graduate student in electrical engineering. Hexswap is a mobile application that allows students to communicate and exchanged used items, books and access services. PhotoFinish, Bhushit Agarwal, Hyderabad, India, graduate student in computer science;Pooja Ahuja, Lincoln, graduate student in computer science; Konno Kazuhiko, Lincoln, MBA; Yixuan Liu, Hefei, China, MBA student; Tullen Mabbutt, Lincoln, senior management and marketing major;and Fatma Saoy, Lincoln, MBA student. PhotoFinish provides participants in running events with photos crowd-sourced from race spectators.

• 1st Undergraduate Division, $5,000 – Concise Research Group.
• 2nd Undergraduate Division, $3,000 – Helping Oats, Anne Bachmann, Lincoln, sophomore management major. Helping Oats seeks to develop a healthy, fast-dining experience near college campuses centering around oatmeal.
• 3rd Undergraduate Division, $2,000 each (four-way tie) – DivviMap, LLC, Justin Kyser, Beatrice, Nebraska, senior management major. DivviMap provides infrastructure for end users of drone map data. Mia Ellsworth Co., Marissa Eltiste, Omaha, Nebraska, senior psychology major, and Katie Rueb, Scottsbluff, Nebraska, senior advertising and public relations major. Mia Ellsworth uses a scientific algorithm to design custom planners with personalized interior pages. Revi, Daniel Hanson, Lincoln, senior management major, and Morgan Mason, Beach Park, Illinois, senior business administration major. Revi provides 360-degree video tours of homes to potential home buyers.LockIT, Rachel Levang, Shorewood, Minnesota, senior management major, and Mallory Zimmerman, Lawton, Iowa, senior management major. LockIT is a program designed to redefine the driving habits of young drivers by incentivizing them to lock their phones by using rewards.
• Thomas G. Guy Startup Team Award, $2,000 – Concise Research Group.
The UNL Global Venture Competition winners were:
• 1st Graduate Division, $10,000 – Adranos Energetics LLC, Shane McGuire and Brandon Terry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. Aradnos is developing a cost-effective solid rocket propellant that is more efficient, more powerful and better for the environment than traditional solid rocket propellants.
• 2nd Graduate Division, $5,000 – Rhizofeed LLC, Wesley Barnett, Molly Frank, Erica Newsome, Justin Prater and Matthew Thacker, University of Pikeville, Pikeville, Kentucky. Rhizofeed is a poultry feed additive designed to replace antibiotic use in the poultry industry with an all-natural product.
• 3rd Graduate Division, $2,500  – deciLvl, JP Marzana, Anthony Sager, Tara Shaw and Don Walsh, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas. deciLvl is partnering with MIT to develop an affordable hearing protection device that blocks harmful sound levels while allowing users to communicate and remain aware of their environment.
• 4th Graduate Division, $1,500 – NuPhase Solutions LLC, Haley Cleous, Phil Keil andTyler Thompson, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas. NuPhase Solutions offers a non-invasive treatment for adults affected by major depressive disorder and are not seeing improvement with their current treatment.

• 1st Undergraduate Division, $10,000 – SwineTech, Abraham Espinoza and Matthew Rooda, University of Iowa, Iowa City. SwineTech provides technology to help farmers improve farrowing monitoring systems and reduce the number of piglets that die on farrowing facilities because they are being crushed by sows.
• 2nd Undergraduate Division, $5,000 – DivviMap, LLC, Justin Kyser, UNL, Lincoln, Nebraska. DivviMap provides infrastructure for end users of drone map data.
• 3rd Undergraduate Division, $2,500 – SETTLN, Andrew Dickelman,University of Iowa, Iowa City, and Nate Joens, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. SETTLN’s mission is to provide realtors and brokerages intelligent home search technology to help their clients make a more confident home buying decision.
• 4th Undergraduate Division, $1,500 – Powder Partner, Michael Dalberth, Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, New York, and Daniel Drake, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York. Powder Partner seeks to assist fitness clubs and Division I universities by providing them a unique powder-based ready-to-drink protein shake.
The Center for Entrepreneurship provides five core services to the university and greater community: teaching, coworking, mentorship, competition and research. The center’s goal is to connect students and faculty on campus with the resources they need to create and manage successful businesses. 

Concise Research Group receives their 'big check' from Nelson
Concise Research Group receives their 'big check' from Nelson
Published: April 8, 2016