Two Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program students have claimed the top two prizes in the undergraduate division at the 13th annual University of Nebraska-Lincoln Venture Plan Competition.
Taking home the top honor was Ashley Nunnenkamp, Sutton, while second-place honors went to Chase Holoubek, David City. Both Nunnenkamp and Holoubek are Engler Scholars--recipients of four-year scholarships provided by the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation.
The Engler program began in 2010 with a gift from the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation to the University of Nebraska to establish a permanently endowed fund to support agribusiness entrepreneurship at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The gift provides student scholarships and program support for student courses, a lectureship series, entrepreneurship training camps, internship placement assistance, student travel and more.
Paul Engler, a native Nebraskan, is a well-known and influential cattle feeder from Texas.
"Receiving the top two prizes in the UNL-wide business plan competition reflects the entrepreneurial aptitude of the Engler students as well as the quality of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Capstone course on business plan writing taught by Dave Lambe," according to Mark Gustafson, the founding director of the Engler Program.
Nunnenkamp, a senior majoring in ag business, is also pursuing an Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship minor. Nunnenkamp is the founding president of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Club, a new student organization for UNL students interested in entrepreneurship. Nunnenkamp's winning entry was a business plan for Pupkins Bakery, featuring gourmet dog treats made from Nebraska-grown pumpkin puree. Nunnenkamp received a $1,000 cash prize and the opportunity to compete in March at the 25th Annual Innovation Competition.
Holoubek's business plan was for Aerial Ag Solutions, a business idea focused on using drone airplanes to take infrared photographs of crops and used as an indicator of crop health. Holoubek is a senior majoring in agricultural economics and is also pursuing an Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship minor.
The University of Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship hosts the UNL Venture Plan Championship, which is sponsored by Alice Dittman and Cornhusker Bank. A preliminary round was held Nov. 28, with 10 students advancing to the final round on Dec. 2.
Begun in 1999, this competition is designed to identify, support and promote students who write business plans. Competition is held at both graduate and undergraduate levels, and grants students from across the UNL campus an opportunity to present their plans to local business leaders and academics, with the chance to win cash prizes.Nunnenkamp is the daughter of Lyle and Deb Nunnenkamp of Sutton, and Holoubek is the son of Mark and Willow Holoubek of David City.