Skip to main content
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Full Article

November 12, 2019

Uwanjye Feeds Entrepreneurial Hunger at 3-2-1 Quick Pitch

Students with “Mammoth-Sized” Ideas Compete for Cash Prizes
Uwanjye Feeds Entrepreneurial Hunger at 3-2-1 Quick Pitch
Lillian Uwanjye’s business idea to combat malnutrition earned her a winning spot at 3-2-1 Quick Pitch.
Hopeful to enact positive change in her home country of Rwanda, Lillian Uwanjye, a junior integrated science major, entered the 3-2-1 Quick Pitch Competition to support her goal of combatting malnutrition. Hosted by Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the competition helps students learn to frame and pitch their ideas. 

“The money I win could be used to start something I care about. Even if I didn't win, to know I'll have feedback for improving my business idea is well worth it,” she explained.

3-2-1 Quick Pitch provides any university student three minutes to pitch one business idea to a panel of judges, comprised of local business leaders and innovators. Morrill Hall set the tone for Uwanjye and the other 89 competitors, as they pitched their ideas next to exhibits of prehistoric creatures. Dr. Sam Nelson, director of the center and associate professor of practice in management, knew the uneasy environment would throw some students “off their game.”

Uwanjye discusses with her room judges about her business idea and their feedback.
Uwanjye discusses with her room judges about her business idea and their feedback.
“The exhibits at Morrill Hall demonstrate the nature of change on our planet and how it has continued to evolve over time. In Quick Pitch, we ask students to pitch ideas that will change the world and provide solutions to the challenges we are faced with,” said Nelson. “Our students traditionally give presentations in a classroom setting and it is important for them to realize they will often be presenting their ideas in non-traditional environments. We felt Morrill Hall gave us a great opportunity to create that unique environment.”

Uwanjye’s business idea planned to tackle a deficiency in protein available for consumption in Rwanda. She envisioned the solution as Faith It! Aquaculture, a fish farm to produce tilapia accessible to the local community.

Although nervous at the start of the competition, she kept her composure throughout her pitch, and the judges recognized both her poise and the potential of her idea. Craig Willeke, president of Willeke Financial Group in Lincoln, Nebraska, and one of four judges in Uwanjye’s room, believed she would turn her idea into reality, a deciding factor when determining winners.

“Even though Lillian has a ways to go to further develop her plan, we all felt she would develop it with time. She's got passion and a general outline which made us believe it will happen,” he said.

Though an integrated science major, Uwanjye’s insight into how businesses operate comes from classes taken at the College of Business.

Ninety students gathered in Elephant Hall at Morrill Hall for the competition.
Ninety students gathered in Elephant Hall at Morrill Hall for the competition.
“I'm taking management classes and learning about inventory, and how to treat the internal environment of a business. My accounting classes also teach me to analyze my different account books. All that helps me,” she said.

Uwanjye not only took home one of 27 prizes of $333.33, but also invaluable feedback to make her plan a reality. While she puts money away for land to start her business, her priorities fall on making the most of her time at Nebraska.

“I keep educating myself and pretending in my head like I have everything. So now, if I have everything, what can I do the next morning? I'm equipping myself with the knowledge and skills I need so by the time I save enough money, I can start right away,” said Uwanjye.

To learn more about the next Center for Entrepreneurship competition – Husker Huddle – or other upcoming competitions, stop by HLH 315 or visit:

Other room winners of the competition include:

Room #1 Mesozoic A
  • Andrew Adelson, senior business administration major from Polk, Nebraska
  • Arihant Mittal, sophomore international business major from Jaipur, India
  • Grace Partridge, sophomore management and marketing major from Rapid City, South Dakota
Room #2 Mesozoic B
  • Ashley Clegg, sophomore management major from Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Natalie Johnson, senior biochemistry major from Aurora, Colorado
  • Jordan Seitz, sophomore supply chain management and analytics major from Gregory, Michigan
Room #3 Toren Gallery of Ancient Life
  • Jessica Aragon, sophomore management major from Plano, Texas
  • Connor Jolley, junior computer science and management major from Omaha, Nebraska
  • Nick Nguyen, junior computer science and mathematics from Omaha
Room #4 Weapons Throughout Time
  • Jack Arens, junior computer engineering major from Ainsworth, Nebraska
  • Adrianna McKing, sophomore management and marketing major from Bellevue, Nebraska
  • Odile Umuhoza, senior integrated science major from Bugesera, Rwanda
Room #5 Jurassic Dinosaurs
  • Reilly Cooper, biological sciences Ph.D. student from Pleasant Valley, New York
  • Levi Gipson, MBA student from Lincoln
  • Joey Jeanetta, senior management major from Omaha
Room #6 Explore Evolution
  • Luke Bogus, junior management and marketing major from Columbus, Nebraska
  • Shelby Kittle, sophomore agriculture education major from Ord, Nebraska
  • Lillian Uwanjye, junior integrated science major from Kigali, Rwanda
Room #7 Transforming Prairies
  • Max Van Arsdall, junior management major from Lincoln
  • Vishnu Menon, sophomore computer science major from Omaha
  • Zac Streich, freshman computer science major from Lincoln
Room #8 Sustainable Earth
  • Wyatt Packard, senior management major from Lincoln
  • Timothy Schartz, sophomore accounting and management major from El Segundo, California
  • Zach Vancas, senior advertising and public relations major from Rapid City
Room #9 Nebraska Modern Landscapes
  • Ludmila Filipova, senior advertising and public relations major from Prague, Czech Republic
  • Katie Lamb, sophomore management and marketing major from Grafton, Wisconsin
  • Brent Miller, senior animal science major from Lyons, Nebraska