The Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration teamed up with the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) to host the Innovation Challenge March 2-6. Open to both undergraduate and graduate students from any academic program at Nebraska, teams received $5 to create an idea and generate as much value as possible.
Seven teams competed in the event which focused on identifying opportunities, challenging assumptions and generating maximum value. After learning the objective of the challenge Thursday evening, the groups constructed their ideas and used the weekend to take action. Teams presented their results four days later to faculty in the Center for Entrepreneurship, including Dr. Samuel Nelson, director and assistant professor of practice in management; Dr. Samantha Fairclough, associate director and assistant professor of practice in management; and Dr. Kyle Gibson, assistant director and research assistant professor. The top three teams received trophies and gift cards.
“The Innovation Challenge provided a fantastic opportunity for students to flex their creative muscle. Teams exceeded our expectations in coming up with innovations ranging from developing new business ideas, prototypes and websites, to marketing and applying their skills to benefit others,” Fairclough said.
Madison Foster, a senior marketing major from Aurora, Colorado, won first place by using her $5 to purchase cleaning supplies to do paid chores such as dishes, laundry and cooking. Employing a friend to assist her, she earned $275 by the end of the weekend and donated her profit to the Nebraska Humane Society.
“I recently participated in the Start Something 48-Hour Challenge and valued the uniqueness of the experience, so it made me want to attend the Innovation Challenge as well,” Foster said. “During the week, my friends were discussing how busy they would be over the weekend which sparked my idea. I created value not only monetarily, but by relieving the stress of my 25 clients. I believe my idea worked because I offered what nobody else wanted or had time to do.”
Josh Jones, a sophomore economics major from Omaha, Nebraska; Trevor Fellbaum, a freshman computer science major from Bellevue, Nebraska; and Edmon Adams, a freshman computer science major from Omaha, Nebraska, received second place for their team called CraftiCRATE. The group spent their money buying excess inventory items from local craft market vendors and created a prototype of a subscription-based ‘monthly mystery box’ of handmade arts and crafts. They also designed and built a website and mobile app.
The judges awarded Melanie Powell, a junior computer science major with minors in business and math from Leawood, Kansas, and Andy Elsaesser, a freshman undeclared major from Omaha, Nebraska, third place. Spending only 88 cents, they created a domain name for a website and formed a one-stop site listing for all campus events at Nebraska.
“As judges we were delighted and entertained by the myriad of ways teams transformed the $5 investment into different kinds of value. Students demonstrated self-efficacy and a commitment to the Start Something initiative of CBA,” Fairclough said.
To learn more about the upcoming events at the Center for Entrepreneurship, visit: http://cba.unl.edu/entrepreneurship