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Heartland Student Entrepreneur Conference
Heartland Student Entrepreneurship Conference

The 2015 Heartland Student Entrepreneur Conference will take place on Friday, April 24th from 9:00 am - 2:30 pm at Metropolitan Community College's Fort Omaha Campus and will bring together over 200 middle, high and college students from the Omaha metro area specifically studying entrepreneurship, innovation or creativity. This 4th annual conference is able to again be offered for FREE! and is not to be missed if you are a student from the Heartland area (Douglas, Sarpy, Washington and Dodge counties, Nebraska).

At the conference, students will hear success stories from local entrepreneurs and resource providers representing several career fields such as: construction, technology, fashion, culinary, 3-D image prototyping and fabrication. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a big idea essay contest, a NEW virtual pitch contest AND observe the best-of-the-best student pitchers go head-to-head in a quick pitch contest and network with like-minded peers and resource providers while enjoying the tastes of local food truck entrepreneurs. So, come hungry AND bring your business cards to distribute!!

Click Schedule to view the entire conference program.

View the live streaming conference!
Available Friday, April 24th.


REGISTRATION:

Registration is FREE! for Heartland area entrepreneurial students and educators and starts Friday, April 3rd at: Register here!

Hurry to be sure to secure your seat at the conference and discover your entrepreneurial talents!

In consideration of acceptance of enrollment in The Heartland Student Entrepreneur Conference, registrants will authorize Metropolitan Community College to use their image, likeness, name and comments in, but not limited to, photographs, videos and audio recordings created or used for the purposes of publicity/marketing and advertising for the College.


SCHEDULE:

  • Click Schedule to view the entire conference program.
  • When: Friday, April 24th 9:00 am - 2:30 pm. Registration, Coffee & Networking starts at 8:30 am.
  • Where: Metropolitan Community College, Fort Omaha Campus, Swanson Conference Center Building #22. (Inside The Institute for Culinary Arts). 5300 North 30th Street, Omaha, NE (32nd & Sorenson Parkway). Parking is free and open to the public. Lunch will take place in the Mule Barn Building #21 parking lot. To view information on the campus including the ability to download a map of the campus, see: MCC Fort Omaha Campus map.

SPEAKERS:

Staying Relevant - Growing a 20-year old Startup
Jill Thayer Liliedahl, CEO, SitStay.com
David Arnold, Managing Director, Straight Shot

SitStay.com
Jill Thayer Liliedahl, CEO, SitStay.com
Email: jill@sitstay.com
Website: www.sitstay.com

Jill Thayer Liliedahl Bio:

Jill Thayer Liliedahl

Jill Thayer Liliedahl is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of SitStay.com based in Lincoln, Nebraska. SitStay started in 1995 as the pet industry’s first eCommerce retailer. Twenty years later, the company helps dogs and their humans to lead happy, healthy lives through providing high-quality pet products and solution-focused content to their customers. The products at SitStay are healthful, enriching and good-dog-approved.

Liliedahl also owns Pop Art LLC, producing all-natural gourmet popsicles, and has worked in the start-up industry at Nelnet and NUtech Ventures, as well as in Industry Relations for the Office of Research and Economic Development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has both participated in and staffed a business accelerator and has seen the benefits of them firsthand as a service provider and an entrepreneur. Passionate about entrepreneurship and community building, Jill was inspired to start a group for female entrepreneurs in Lincoln, NE.

David Arnold Bio:

David Arnold

Straight Shot — Omaha's first technology accelerator — is dedicated to rapidly developing technology startups, so when they go to market they have a sustainable path to revenue generation. Founded by Mark Hasebroock, a co-founder of GiftCertificates.com and Hayneedle, and supported by a deeply experienced and talented pool of strategic mentors, Straight Shot offers participating startups unmatched perspective and knowledge needed to succeed.

David Arnold is the Managing Director of Straight Shot. Born and raised in a small Western Nebraska town, David moved to Lincoln to pursue a Business Administration degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Nebraska College of Law. In 2010, David took a position as the Deputy Communication Director for the Omaha Mayor's Office where he got a first-hand look at the inner workings of municipal government. In 2011, David was hired as the seventh employee of MindMixer — a civic tech startup founded by two Omahans. Over the next two years, David helped create and lead the Client Services division which was tasked with the company's onboarding, support, and customer experience management responsibilities. David saw Straight Shot as an opportunity to bring together his two passions — business and community building — and became the Managing Director in 2013.


Omaha Fashion Week — Starting a Business On Stage
Buf Reynolds, Designer, In The Buf Designs
Kate Walz, Designer, Kate Walz Designs

Kate Walz, Desinger Bio:

Kate Walz Designs
Email: katewalzdesigner@outlook.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kate_walz

Kate Walz

Kate Walz is the President and designer of her own clothing line, Kate Walz LLC. Walz creates pieces with a reoccurring influence of the 1960’s- focusing on the cultural movements, fashion, music, and art that occurred during this era. She aspires to achieve this idea by creating something that will exist in the world forever. Throughout her years of designing she has showcased her work in over 40 fashion shows around the United States including an offsite show of New York Fashion Week. In October 2014, she was the only designer chosen from the United States to participate in the first ever fashion show on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Her work has been featured in international publications including Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, Women's Wear Daily, and shown on Fashion TV.

Kate Walz - Paris

Kate started sketching and creating patterns at 8 years old. Hiring her first employee, her mother; she now has hired several seamstresses to bring her designs to life. Today, Kate is a senior at Millard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska. She plans to study fashion at Parsons the New School for Design in New York, where she received the BFA Scholarship and the Dean's BFA Scholarship.

Buf Reynolds, Designer
Buf Reynolds Designs
Email: bufreynolds@gmail.com
Website: http://bufreynolds.com/

Buf Reynolds Model

Buf's designs have evolved over her career from casual everyday clothing to evening gowns with a touch of the avant garde. Living in the middle of the country has not limited Buf's visions, her designs transcend geography. She is filled with vision, drive, and a sense of adventure and her works clearly reflect that. She takes inspiration from her everyday life where she is immersed in antiques, modern design, fine art, and beautiful people.

Buf Reynolds 2014 Collection

Buf Reynolds was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and is proud of her cool city. Though she has had no formal fashion training, Buf continues to teach and train herself everyday; learning new techniques and reading about the trade in every form of media possible. In 2006, she participated in MCC’s Entrepreneur Program to assist her with business plan development and learn how to take a passion and create a thriving business. She has been involved with Omaha Fashion Week since its inception in 2008.


Local Food Truck Owner Panel
Kerry and Laela Williams, Island Seasons Mobile Kitchen
David Burr and Patrick Favrava Localmotive Food Truck

Island Seasons Mobile Kitchen & Catering
Kerry Williams, Owner
Website: http://islandseasons.wix.com/islandseasons#
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/islandseasonsmobilekitchen

Island Seasons Mobile Kitchen

Chef Kerry Williams is originally from Roundhill, Jamaica. He came to the United States in 2004 to pursue his culinary education. His interest in the culinary field grew after working in tourist resorts such as Sandals Dunn's River and Beaches Grand Sport in Ocho Rios. He owned and operated a Caribbean themed restaurant in Red Oak, Iowa called Runaway Bay Eatery from 2005-2008. The recession of 2008 impacted the small town greatly, causing the restaurant to close and for Kerry to move to Omaha, Nebraska for greater opportunities.

Island Seasons Tacos

Kerry started culinary school in 2009 and graduated from The Institute of Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College in 2011 at which time he began their dreams of starting Island Seasons Mobile Kitchen. Island Seasons Mobile Food Truck has been one of the pioneering mobile food truck businesses in the Omaha Metro area. The Jamaican jerk chicken and sweet thai tacos are regular staples most requested.

Localmotive Food Truck
Patrick Favara and David Burr, Partners
Email: Patrick@localmotivefoodtruck.com
Email: David@localmotivefoodtruck.com
Website: www.localmotivefoodtruck.com

Localmotive - 3 Guys

A void in quality, late-night street food led David Burr and Patrick Favara to start Localmotive Food Truck. Since their first service in 2012, they have established themselves as a go-to destination for late night diners, especially in Omaha's Old Market District. Starting a business, let alone one in a new industry segment certainly brings its challenges. But none more so than the day the first truck broke down. In an effort to re-launch, the duo led a successful KickStarter Campaign to raise over $40,000 to outfit a new truck and hit the roads again.

Localmotive Truck at Night

Localmotive is dedicated to providing quality street-style food in the Omaha Metro area. With strong partnerships with local farms and local distributors, they combine farm-to-table philosophy with a casual, approachable, street-style format. This is epitomized in their signature product: The Rounder-a sourdough dumpling stuffed with a wide variety of locally-sourced, made-from-scratch ingredients. Both graduated from The University of Nebraska at Omaha; David from the College of Business and Patrick from the College of Journalism.


WORKSHOPS:

Are you an Entrepreneur looking to start, sustain or grow a business? Or, perhaps an Innovator who likes to make and create? Select the workshop station which most interests you!

*Entrepreneur Station: Launching Lean & Mean
Dale Eesley, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Franchising, University of Nebraska at Omaha

*Innovation Station: Innovate Now! Calling All Dreamers & Makers
Jamie Bridgham, Fab Lab Omaha Instructor, Metropolitan Community College


COMPETITIONS

There are 3 competitions taking place in conjunction with the Conference. Those that elect to participate in any competition must register by midnight, Friday April 17th. Any student can compete in the Big Idea Essay Contest. However, students cannot compete in both the 30-Second Virtual Pitch contest and be selected by their teacher to represent their school by making a Main Stage Elevator Pitch presentation live at the conference.


Big Idea Essay Contest

Sponsored by The Lincoln Financial Foundation

1. BIG IDEA ESSAY CONTEST: Submit Your Big Idea! In 300 words maximum, craft an essay to show your passion for entrepreneurship by summarizing your big idea to be your own boss, an intrapreneurial-minded employee or the next great innovator. All ideas accepted including those with a for-profit, non-profit or a social agenda. Winners will be announced and must be present at the conference. Tell us what you have going on! Identify:

  • What is the idea? How was the idea born? Why is it a good idea?
  • Who would be (or are) your consumer and how can it satisfy a consumer need?
  • How will you personally make it successful? (Show your passion)
  • What are your next educational and/or professional development plans to support your idea?

Submission: Students, submit your essay at: http://bit.ly/bigideaessay by midnight, April 17.

Big Ideas will be reviewed using the following parameters:

  • Idea Concept Summary - Big Idea creatively presented to adequately convey business concept. Background behind idea and support for idea viability addressed.
  • Customer Identification/Needs Assessment - Target Market Consumer(s) identified and the associated benefits to them are evident and compelling.
  • Credibility - Candidate portrays entrepreneur passion and next step plans to support idea.
  • Overall Organization/Writing Quality - Professional essay presented in clear, concise and logical format. Presented within 300 words using correct grammar and spelling.

Prizes: Winners will be announced and must be present at the conference. Some students may be invited to read their essay to the audience. There will be three divisions (Division I - College/University, Division II - High School and Division III - Middle School) with three winners from each division named. Prizes for each division:

  • 1st place:  $75 gift card
  • 2nd place:  $50 gift card
  • 3rd place:  $25 gift card

30 Second Virtual Pitch Contest
(video upload)

Sponsored by The Lincoln Financial Foundation

2. 30-SECOND VIRTUAL PITCH CONTEST VIDEO UPLOAD: In 30-seconds or less, create and upload a video delivering an elevator pitch for a business concept. Students may submit individually or in teams of 2 students. Only one video submission per student/group allowed. This contest is intended for students not representing their home school in the Main Stage Elevator Pitch Contest. Videos not able to be opened or heard will not be judged. Video submissions become the property of the Heartland Conference and may be displayed to the public.

Submission: Students, submit your videos by midnight, Friday, April 17th, to the division link which represents your level of education:

Judging: A judge from the local entrepreneur community will determine the competition winners using the following Judge Form. Every student/group participant will receive individual feedback. Criteria for judging includes:

  • Overall Organization / Logic: Pitch presented in clear, concise and logical form; Presenter conveyed confidence and professionalism and stayed within the 30 second timeframe.
  • Presentation Quality: Elevator pitch is creative, energetic and delivered a memorable message.
  • Product/Service Competitive Advantage: Product or service concept and the benefit to customers is clear and compelling.
  • Target Market: Market opportunity and potential returns are clear and compelling.
  • Credibility: Candidate is believable as an entrepreneur with the passion and knowledge to successfully implement.

Prizes: Winners will be announced at the end of the conference and must be present to win. There will be three divisions (Division I - College/University, Division II - High School and Division III - Middle School) with one winner from each division named. Prizes for each division (to be split if submitting as a group of 2):

  • Division I - College/University: $100 Visa Gift Card plus:
    • Keys To Successful Business Start-up (book) from the Nebraska Business Development Center
  • Division II – High School: $100 Visa Gift Card plus:
    • Keys To Successful Business Start-up (book) from the Nebraska Business Development Center
  • Division III – Middle School: $100 Visa Gift Card plus:
    • Keys To Successful Business Start-up (book) from the Nebraska Business Development Center

Main Stage Elevator Pitch Contest
(in person)

Sponsored by The Lincoln Financial Foundation

3. MAIN STAGE ELEVATOR PITCH CONTEST: This contest will bring together the top presenters as to be identified by each individual school's competitions held prior to April 24th (or as identified by Instructor if a school has not held a competition). Selected students will have 2-minutes maximum to present their entrepreneurial or innovative business concepts to a panel of judges using only their voices. It is acceptable for students to dress in business uniform or attire normally worn in the business setting. Any student using a prop of any kind including a note card, promotional handouts or technology will be disqualified. Students will have a maximum of 1-minute following their pitch to address questions from the panel of judges. There will be 3 divisions:

  • Division I - College/University: The Lead Instructor from each participating college/university attending the Heartland Student Entrepreneur Conference will be able to nominate and send up to 2 students to participate from their respective school.
  • Division II - High School: The Lead Instructor from each participating high school attending the Heartland Student Entrepreneur Conference located in Douglas, Sarpy, Washington or Dodge counties will be able to nominate and send up to 2 students to participate from their respective school.
  • Division III – Middle School: The Lead Instructor from each participating middle school attending the Heartland Student Entrepreneur Conference located in Douglas, Sarpy, Washington or Dodge counties will be able to nominate and send up to 2 students to participate from their respective school.
  • Divisions may be combined as necessary due to low enrollment.

Submission: Lead Instructors, register (max 2 students) at: http://bit.ly/pitchregistration by midnight, April 17th.

Judging: A panel of judges from the local entrepreneur community will have 1-minute maximum following each student's pitch presentation to ask follow up questions. The panel will determine the competition winners using the following Judge Form. Every student participant will receive individual feedback. Criteria for judging includes:

  • Overall Organization / Logic: Pitch presented in clear, concise and logical form; Presenter conveyed confidence and professionalism and stayed within the 2 minute timeframe.
  • Presentation Quality: Elevator pitch is creative, energetic and delivered a memorable message.
  • Product/Service Competitive Advantage: Product or service concept and the benefit to customers is clear and compelling.
  • Target Market: Market opportunity and potential returns are clear and compelling.
  • Credibility: Candidate is believable as an entrepreneur with the passion and knowledge to successfully implement.
  • Q & A: Ability to answer judge's questions.

Prizes: Winners will be announced at the end of the conference and must be present to win. There will be three divisions (Division I - College/University, Division II - High School and Division III - Middle School) with one winner from each division named. Prizes for each division:

  • Division I - College/University: First place winner will receive a $1,000 Visa Gift Card plus:
    • MCC Scholarship for 9.0 ech credit hours
    • Keys To Successful Business Start-up (book) from the Nebraska Business Development Center
  • Division II – High School: First place winner will receive a $500 Visa Gift Card plus:
    • MCC Scholarship for 9.0 ech credit hours
    • Keys To Successful Business Start-up (book) from the Nebraska Business Development Center
  • Division III – Middle School: First place winner will receive a $200 Visa Gift Card plus:
    • MCC Scholarship for 9.0 ech credit hours
    • Keys To Successful Business Start-up (book) from the Nebraska Business Development Center

Additionally, the judges will award the following prizes to the best student from any division:

  • Most Innovative Concept - $100 Visa Gift Card
  • Most Marketable Idea - $100 Visa Gift Card
  • Most Panache Presenter! - $100 Visa Gift Card
    (The Most Spirited Entrepreneur)

Practice!: See last year’s conference Quick Pitch Winners to help prepare an Elevator Pitch.


TEACHER RESOURCES


PREVIOUS CONFERENCE RESOURCES


SPONSOR

Lincoln Financial Foundation logo

The Heartland Student Entrepreneurship Conference is made
possible with the support of the Lincoln Financial Foundation.


CONTACT

For conference-related questions, contact
Heather Nelson: 402-289-1376, hnelson@mccneb.edu

 
 
 
 
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