Future entrepreneurs pitch early childhood product

Coordinated by the Clifton Strengths Institute located in University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Howard L. Hawks Hall College of Business, the 2nd annual Future Builders Challenge allowed 12 students to dive deep into starting their own business. After learning of the Prosper Lincoln focus area on Early Childhood with the goal of ensuring all children are kindergarten ready, the group focused on how they could create a business that gave young children the best start in school.

Their concept was “Prekrate”, a subscription box for preschool children, filled with activities that would prepare them for Lincoln Public School’s Kindergarten curriculum. The business was modeled on the one-for-one concept that would give a free box to a child in need with every purchase of a full-price box.

In the one-week intensive immersion program, the group gained hands-on experience conducting market research; creating a business model; prototyping and developing the product; planning the marketing, finance and sales; and finally pitching the concept to mentors who provided feedback.

“It was incredible to see a group of students from across the Lincoln community all grow more confidently in themselves as well as thrive as a team, in just one week,” said Samantha Kennelly, M.A.
Associate Director of Clifton Strengths Institute. “These students were given the opportunity to embrace the entrepreneurial journey, and along the away, they became more aware of who they are as individuals, team members, and future leaders.”

High school students were chosen for the program based on the Gallup’s Builder Profile 10 (BP10) assessment which measured their aptitudes to become entrepreneurs, innovators and builders.  This past March and April, 2,000 LPS and parochial high school students were granted the opportunity to take Gallup’s BP10 assessment tool to identify their Builder talents. The top 20% of those students were then invited to a variety of events including an inspiration rally, builder bootcamp and pitch competition. Over the past two years, 6,000 students discovered their inherent talents to build.

Sponsors of the program included: Accelerate Nebraska; Ameritas; Assurity; Bill Cintani; Don’t Panic Labs; Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools; Gallup; Lincoln Community Foundation; Lincoln Industries; Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development; Nelnet; Pixel Bakery; Prosper Lincoln; Spreetail; The Jim and Penny Krieger Family Foundation; and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.