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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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October 24, 2012

3-2-1 Quickpitch Competition Puts Student Entrepreneurship on Center Stage

Three minutes to make one pitch equals 3-2-1 Quickpitch -- the name of the annual student entrepreneur competition organized by the UNL College of Business Administration Center for Entrepreneurship. This year’s competition will be held November 29, at 6:00 p.m. inside Memorial Stadium.
The competition lets students from three divisions, including four-year colleges, two-year colleges and high schools, give a business pitch to a panel of entrepreneurial experts from throughout Nebraska. The students need to make clear and concise proposals to convey why their innovative idea will work in the real world.
Mikayla Schultz, a sophomore Enactus student (formerly SIFE, Students in Free Enterprise) from Hastings, Neb., participated in last year’s 3-2-1 Quickpitch, and found answers to what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
“In SIFE we talked through what we were going to do before we competed,” Schultz said. “Some of my friends were nervous but we had a lot of creative ideas from tourism proposals to coffee shops to creating apps.”
Schultz analyzed all the aspects of her dorm coffee shop pitch that she believed were important and then listened to her peers practice their presentations.
“After I listened to other presentations I found out I needed to include more numbers in my pitch. I had a lot of qualitative information and not a lot of quantitative.”
Dr. Sam Nelson, assistant director of the center for entrepreneurship, believes the activity forces students to understand the value that their product or service provides to the community.

3-2-1 Quickpitch Competition

“It allows students to present in front of people they don’t know, in a setting they are not familiar with,” Nelson said. “It also allows them to network and interact with leaders in the community that act as judges for the competition. The competition is a valuable experience for students of any age, because it gives them an idea of what businesses look for in the real world.”
This year the competition is also integrated with the new management major entrepreneurship track for CBA students.
“This competition is a requirement for students in our 421 course, Initiating Entrepreneurial Growth,” Nelson said. “One of the aspects of our new curriculum is that we have aligned a competition with each course as part of the course requirements.  This change was made to provide a more intense learning experience for our students.”
Schultz discovered exactly that at last year’s 3-2-1 Quickpitch.
“I talked to one of the judges after the competition that had started a business in the dorms when he was in college,” Schultz said. “He was helping people with computers and eventually built a business off of that. It was nice to hear that somebody else had the same idea of starting a business out of their dorm room.”
Nelson is proud of the event because it plays a key role in the development of entrepreneurial directed students.
“What initially seems to be an overwhelming task for them becomes a reality,” Nelson said. “Once that becomes a reality, they realize they should put more effort into a business plan. It builds the confidence of all the students that compete regardless whether they win or not.”