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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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March 14, 2019

New Venture Competition Boosts Aspiring Entrepreneurs

New Venture Competition Boosts Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Joseph and Matthew Brugger and their Upstream Farms business plan won a New Venture Competition grand prize in 2018.
The New Venture Competition provides University of Nebraska–Lincoln students the opportunity to stretch their thinking, pitch their business plans and compete for more than $75,000 in total prize money. Undergraduate and graduate students must register for the April 9 and 11 competition by Tuesday, April 2.
The Center for Entrepreneurship coordinates Nebraska entrepreneurs, investors, business and community leaders to serve as judges for the competition. On the first day, students compete in a bracket-style format by presenting a 15-minute business plan to the judges followed by a 10-minute question and answer session. The second day, the four winners from each bracket compete against each other for two $25,000 grand prizes and cash prizes for first and second runners-up.
“The cash prizes are certainly an attraction for competitors and can be important to kick-start or grow a business. But the competition is not just about the money. The experience of writing a plan, pitching it to a panel and responding to some fairly tough questions is a fantastic method of refining and testing business ideas, and a way for students to build confidence,” said Dr. Samantha Fairclough, associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and assistant professor of practice in management.
Help sessions offer student competitors free mentoring to improve their plans and prepare their presentations. Drop in to Howard L. Hawks Hall 315 anytime between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for help on these dates and topics:
  • March 11, 12, 13, 14 – Sustainability/Expansion Plan  
  • March 25, 26, 27, 28 – Financials
  • April 1, 2, 3, 4 – Presentation/PowerPoint
Community members may attend the competition beginning at 9 a.m., Tuesday, April 9, in the Nebraska Union with finalists determined by the end of the day. The final four compete Thursday, April 11, at 1 p.m. at the Sheldon Museum of Art auditorium. An awards presentation and reception will follow. 
To register or learn more about the New Venture Competition, visit: