Startup Weekend: Omaha Inspiring young entrepreneurs

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Elizabeth Stevens
CONTRIBUTOR

University of Nebraska at Omaha students will have the opportunity to partner with business and marketing professionals during Startup Weekend Omaha, which will be held in Mammel Hall Sept. 23-25.

At Startup Weekend, students will have the opportunity to connect with professionals who have similar passions over the course of the 54 hour event.

According to Dr. Dale Eesley, associate professor of business administration and marketing. They will also receive useful instructions on idea development.

Eesley said about 20 students will be able to pitch ideas about a startup, application or service idea.

A panel of venture capitalists will decide on the best ideas. After the top pitches are selected, the students will form into teams to develop their concepts.

Students will return on Saturday, Eesley said, to develop webpages for their ideas. They will also be able to communicate with community members to test their ideas.

Students will also have the chance to work with mentors at the event.

On the final day, students will present their work to the panel. This panel will be made up of seasoned professionals like Jeff Slobotski, founder of Router Ventures, and Rick Knudtson, Co-Founder of Flywheel.

Eesley said he is excited to witness the energy that forms when students work together.

Eesley raised $10,000 to fund the event. This event was made possible by donations from many local organizations. Eesley said Cox Communications gave the largest donation.

Beth Weiss, senior director for public affairs at Cox Communications, said that Cox is very passionate about connecting students with technology.

This is not the first entrepreneurial event that Cox has been involved with. Weiss said that Cox hosted an Omaha Shark Tank event, where five startups pitched ideas and received advice from venture capitalists.

“Students of today are the future,” Weiss said. “The more they succeed, the more everyone else does. When they come up with innovative ideas, we all benefit. Connecting students with technology is the heart of what we do.”

Cox supplied a limited amount of free tickets for UNO students, according to UNO’s website.

Weiss said Cox Marketing Manager Julie Minton will be participating in Startup Weekend Omaha as a panel judge.

Brett Cory, who is a UNO student and marketing major, said he is most excited about the networking opportunity the Startup Weekend Omaha will bring.

“Any business you want to go into is a business of connections,” Cory said. “You want to ask questions, you want to network and you want to find out how people do things. All success is a formula of hard work and finding out where you want to go.”

Cory said he wants to find out how people got their start in business and learn how he can do the same.

“If you’re going up and asking questions, they’re going to see that you are driven,” Cory said. “If you really put yourself out there, there’s good things that will happen.”

Students interested in attending this event should visit omaha.startupweekend.org for ticket prices and more information.

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