Center For Rural Research & Development

Business Idea Contest

To everyone that played some part, big or small, we say

Thank You
The Center for Rural Research and Development is no longer accepting entries for the 4th Annual 2014 Business Idea Contest. Submission deadline was October 27, 2014
Business Idea Contest Flier Information
Idea Contest Logo

How to Enter:

  1. Prepare a video describing or demonstrating your business idea, in 2 minutes or less.
  2. Upload it to YouTube.com
    • Choose your account & video settings carefully.  Ensure your video is posted as "public" or "unlisted", but NOT "private".
    • For Additional Help:
      1. Contact Jessica Hinrichs (hinrichsj2@unk.edu or 308-865-8199)
      2. Scroll Down to the Helpful Articles Section Below
    • Often the videos you upload are public by default. Posting as public means that your video can be viewed by a vast anonymous audience unless they restrict the viewers.  Posting as unlisted allows only viewers to view your video if you send them the  YouTube URL (website link to your video).
  3. Email your YouTube URL to Jessica Hinrichs (Administrative Specialist in the Center for Rural Research and Development). 
    1. Jessica's Email: hinrichsj2@unk.edu
    2. YouTube URL is in the address bar.
  4. You will be notified in 2-4 business days that it was received and then instructed to finalize your submission by completing our Business Idea Contest Qualtrics Survey. 
    1. Failure to complete this survey prior to the deadline will automatically disqualify you from this event.
  5. All videos submitted by the deadline will be categorized into five business areas, evaluated, scored and ranked by a panel of with entrepreneurs with experience in those five business categories.
    • The five Business Categories are:
      1. Retail
      2. Inventions
      3. Food Service
      4. IT (Information Technology)
      5. General Service
  6. Ten Contestants will be invited to present and answer questions in person in Downtown Kearney on November 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM 

Schedule

Deadline to Submit Video: 5PM on Monday, October 27th
  • All videos submitted by the deadline will be categorized into five business areas, evaluated, scored and ranked by a panel of experienced entrepreneurs from those five business categories.   
 Business Idea Contest Event: Wednesday, November 19th @ 7PM
  • The Top 10 business ideas will be presented during an entertaining event similar to the "Shark Tank" television program.  Contestants must be present at the event to win.  This event is open to the public.  You are invited to attend whether or not you submitted a business idea.  (Location: Cunningham's Journal: Bar and Grill, 15 W 23rd St, Kearney, NE 68847)

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the purpose of this event and why should I enter?
  • Although this event is a great way to get your Business Idea out there and reviewed by experts, the purpose is not purely for monetary gain.  This event was created to give many the opportunity to network with great professionals and provides educational value rarely available outside of a college setting.
What are the business categories I can choose from?
  • There are 5 categories: Retail, IT/Tech/Web Services (IT), Service, Product Invention, and Food Service/Food Related
What criteria will be used to judge each video?
  • There is no official judging criteria, but generally we inform participants that ideas which are highly feasible (likelihood for success/market demand/speed to sales, etc) and innovative (new/interesting) will have the best chance for success.
Will my video have to be professionally done?
  • No. The idea is more important than the video/graphic presentation style/quality. If you need help feel free to contact Jessica Hinrichs at hinrichsj2@unk.edu.
What if I don't have video equipment?
  • You can stop by the CRRD on the UNK campus and we will film your pitch for you!
Is there an age limit to who can enter the contest?
  • Yes, you must be 13 or older to enter.
  • YouTube requires users to be over 13 to use their site. To make sure you're uploading legally, you should take the time to read through the site's terms of service.
I don't have a complete business plan. Can I still enter the contest?
  • Yes. Your business idea does not have to be a fully-thought-out business model, just a description of the product or service, what need it serves, who your customers might be and how you would make it available to those customers.
Once my video is submitted how is it judged?
  • Each video will be judged by experts in each category. The judges will vote on each business idea and the top 10 business ideas will be invited to present and answer questions in person on November 19th at Cunningham's Journal: Bar and Grill, 15 W 23rd St, Kearney, NE 68847.
How are the winners chosen?
  • The Top Ten will stand before three judges and an audience of voters for a timed five-minute question and answer (Q&A) session. Once all contestants have presented their business ideas, the judges will select the top three candidates.
  • The Top Three will then follow up with another one minute Q&A session. Following that session, audience members with a ticket will vote on a winner.
What’s a voting ticket and who gets one?
  • A voting ticket is given to every person that attends the Business Idea Contest Event on November 19th. To get a ticket you must be present prior to the first round/Q&A session. All voters must have had the opportunity to have heard all ten contestants in order to vote. Each voter gets a chance to choose which Top Three contestant they liked best by dropping their ticket in the contestants voter bucket. (Limit one vote per person.)
Who attends the final event?
  • The Top Ten Business Idea Contestants must attend. Colleagues, friends, and family of the contestants and the community are also encouraged to attend.
  • Attention Contestants! The more of your family and friends that attend the greater chance you have of winning, if you make it to the Top Three!

Prizes

First Place: $1000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $250

Doug Miller 1st Place Winner 2013 Business Idea Contest

Helpful Articles

Sponsors

Economic Development Council of Buffalo County
UNK College of Business & Technology: Center for Rural Research & Development Department
Invest Nebraska

Technical Requirements

A video must be uploaded onto YouTube in the following formats: .MOV, .MPEG4, MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, or WebM and must be no more than 3 minutes long (all copyrighted material will be removed). The Top Ten videos will be shown at the event on November 19th to the public.

Additional Requirements

Submission must be primarily in English or subtitled.

Idea Contest

Selection of Winners

The Top Ten Contestant Submissions will be selected by a judging process in which a designated panel of judges from each business category. The judges will evaluate each eligible Submission based on the judging criteria set forth above. All Finalists are subject to verification, including without limitation, verification of eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules. The decision of the judges will be final and binding in all matters; no entrant will have the right to challenge the verdict and the judges will not engage in any conversation or explanation regarding their decision.

The Top Three Contestants Submissions will be selected by an additional judging process, which will be completed at the Business Idea Contest Event on November 19th. The judges will consist of three persons selected by the Center for Rural Research and Development Department. The decision of the judges will be final and binding in all matters; no entrant will have the right to challenge the verdict and the judges will not engage in any conversation or explanation regarding their decision. The Top Ten Contestants must attend in order to be judged a second time by the judging criteria outlined above and to continue as the Top Three Contestants.

The winner of each prize will be selected by votes. The votes will be collated for judging/counting by an independent judging panel.

Top Ten Contestant Notification

Contestants will be notified by telephone, mail and/or email. If attempted notification is returned as undeliverable, if a Contestant cannot be verified, or if Contestant is otherwise unable to attend the Business Idea Event on November 19th at 7PM in Kearney the Contestant will give up their Top Ten spot, their spot will be forfeited and may be awarded to an alternate contestant. Additionally, they will not have the opportunity to win the Business Idea Contest.

Finalist Prizes

The prizes will be handed out to the winners after the November 19, 2014 Business Idea Contest. Each winner will need to fill out the appropriate paperwork in order to receive their payment. Payment can take up to 14 days to receive once the process is sent to the University of Nebraska at Kearney Accounts Payable Department.

Confidentiality

The University of Nebraska at Kearney and the Center for Rural Research and Development considers all submitted business ideas as confidential. However, we cannot guarantee complete confidentiality.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney and the Center for Rural Research and Development are not liable for exposure you may receive from and beyond this event. We cannot protect your idea from being "copied". However, maintaining a collaborative learning environment where ideas can be discussed openly is crucial to the Central Nebraska Business Idea Contest process. It is the responsibility of the owner(s) of the intellectual property (idea) to decide what information should or should not be included in deliverables. If you are planning to "sell" your product/service, we recommend that you contact the University's Technology Transfer Center - NUTech Ventures - or a patent attorney for guidance/direction before you submit your idea.

Business Idea Contest Publications

Budding business ideas come to fruition: Kearney Hub
Deadline for UNK business idea contest is Oct. 28: Kearney Hub
Business idea video contest deadline just weeks away: Kearney Hub
2013-2014 Entrepreneurship Competitions and Conferences in Nebraska: Nebraska Department of Education
Winners of the 3rd Annual Central NE Business Idea Contest Announced
Central Nebraska Business Idea Winners Announced: UNK News
Rockville entrepreneur: $1K prize will go to marketing for Hay Stinger: Kearney Hub