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March 24, 2015

Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards Highlight EntrepreneuringDays@UNL

The Center for Entrepreneurship in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business Administration will host the EntrepreneuringDays@UNL, April 7-9 at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln. The event features new venture student competitions as well as a day to celebrate entrepreneurship in Nebraska which is open to the public.
The 18th UNL New Venture Competition will be held April 7. The competition is conducted much like the television show “Shark Tank” where students pitch their business ideas to a panel of business professionals who serve as judges. UNL students will compete for a grand prize of $50,000 to be used to fund their business and an automatic entry into the 28th Global New Venture Competition on Thursday, April 9. Graduate and undergraduate teams from the world’s top universities will compete in the global competition.
The UNL Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards Dinner, held Wednesday, April 8 at 6:15 p.m. at the Embassy Suites, will honor three entrepreneurs for their innovation, success and entrepreneurial spirit. Cost to attend is $50 which also covers the cost one student to attend. RSVP for the dinner at: The honorees include:
 • Nebraska Distinguished Entrepreneur Award – Presented to the founder of an established, successful entrepreneurial company that is inspirational and demonstrates continued innovation. This award is given in memory of W. Patrick Clarke, co-founder and former co-chairman of Northstar Financial Services. NorthStar is the umbrella organization that owns Orion Advisor Services, LLC, CLS Investments LLC and Gemini Fund Services LLC. Clarke was well known in Omaha and the three companies he managed had a combined $120 billion in assets. His son Brett Clarke, vice president of branding and hypermedia, will accept the award in his father’s honor.  
 • New Company Entrepreneur Award – Presented to individuals who have had success in the early years of their business; they are role models and present us with learning opportunities that help young entrepreneurs. This year’s recipient is Matt Medlock, CEO and founder of PaySAFE, an online closing table providing buyers and sellers a convenient one-stop location to create, negotiate and close trades with financial protection. A former vice president at First National Bank, he has an extensive banking background with more than 20 years experience. Medlock built PaySAFE from no customers or transactions at the start of 2012 to having registered users in 32 states and 31 countries.  
 • Start-up Executive Award – This award was established for a start-up person who  made a positive and significant difference to at least one growth company. Bill Hipsher, co-founder of B2 Interactive, a full-service digital marketing agency in Omaha, Nebraska, will receive this award. He has over 15 years experience in the web design and digital marketing arenas following a brief stint in real estate. Hipsher founded B2 Interactive with Brandon Taylor in 2012. He leads the digital marketing group.

Presenters at 2014 Edays
Students and business community members are encouraged to attend the following free, educational sessions held during the three-day event:
 • Tuesday, April 7 – Teaching and Research Round Table, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
 • Tuesday, April 7 – Student Elevator Pitch Competition sponsored by Big Omaha from 1:30 – 4 p.m.
 • Tuesday, April 7 – Networking event for students, business people and educators, 4 – 4:45 p.m.
 • Wednesday, April 8 – Entrepreneurship Speaker Series sponsored by Catalyst: Union Bank and Trust from 1:30 – 4 p.m.   Topics and speakers include “Life of a Serial Entrepreneur” by Quest Taylor, managing partner of Hair Vault; “Entrepreneurship in the Public Sector” by Vern Powers, mayor of Hastings and serial entrepreneur; and “Entrepreneurship in Non-Profits” by Kit Boesch, human services administrator, Lancaster County.
 • Wednesday, April 8 – Visiting Student Competitor Tradeshow from 4:30 – 6:15 p.m.
 • Thursday, April 9 – Storytelling Skills for Entreprenuers: Generating Buzz About You and Your Business from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.

If you would like to see a full schedule of events, go to: For more information, contact Theresa Welbourne at or call 402-472-3353.
The Center for Entrepreneurship is focused on helping students learn and practice the art and science of growth. The Center’s mission is to inspire and empower UNL students to become “Startup People”, educating them to be active in creating their own future.