UNK's Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development



Register Today for Pitch Your Biz!

Pitch Your Biz Event

Would you like to perfect your pitch? How does a short, professional video sound? Are you ready to promote your business?

Business pitch experts will be on hand to help you craft and practice your pitch, then Maverick Media will record your short pitch and send it to you to share on social media. This is a great professional development activity, and is completely free!

Video recording is limited to the first 20 businesses to register.

Pitch Your Biz Registration

8th Annual Central Nebraska Business Idea Contest


Enter the 2018 Big Idea Kearney Contest for your chance to win $1000 to invest in your own big idea! To enter: record a 2-minute video of your business pitch, upload your video to YouTube.com, and submit the URL online. It's easy and FREE to enter. Be sure to submit your idea before October 17, 2018 for preliminary judging. Judges will evaluate all entries and invite the top 10 ideas in each category to present their ideas in person at Cunningham's on the Lake in Kearney on November 7. Find more information about the event on our Big Idea Kearney Contest page.
2017 Big Idea Kearney Contest Winners

The High School Division Winners of Big Idea Kearney The College Division Winners of Big Idea Kearney The Community Division Winners of Big Idea Kearney

Read the UNK News Article on Big Idea Kearney here.

Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Community Information Day


Interested in UNK's Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Community? Join us November 28 or February 6 from 9:30 am - 2:30 pm to learn more about the benefits of being involved in ELLC! During these sessions we will discuss the tentative month-by-month schedule, connect with current UNK students, take a campus tour, learn about UNK's Enactus organization, visit the residence hall where ELLC students will live in fall 2019, and hear from local business owners and entrepreneurs that serve as ELLC mentors. There is no cost to attend, and lunch will be provided for all sponsors and students.

Students are encouraged to attend with an advisor/counselor/teacher/parent but are also welcome to come alone. Pre-registration is required for all attendants. 

Register for Wednesday, November 28, 2018

*Registration deadline is November 21 at 11:59 pm

Register for Wednesday, February 6, 2019

*Registration deadline is February 1 at 11:59 pm

You can also visit the ELLC page for more information on the program.

Program Impact

View 5 Year Report

  • Over 13,500 external stakeholders participated in the Center's Entrepreneurship, Economic Development, or Advanced Market Research programsGraphic of town
  • The Center's survey services/data analysis led to successful grant awards for 11 NE communities; over $3.5 million in grant projects were leveraged by over $800k in local project matching funds
  • $25,000 average increase in revenue (or savings) from businesses (115) assisted
  • Over 3,000 students participated in the Center's programming
  • Over 200 Nebraska residents are impacted annually by the Enactus social entrepreneurship student group, which also manages the first ever on-campus student business, Brewed Awakening (coffee shop)

RFI Logo

The Rural Futures Institute Competitive Awards Program connects partners, campuses and communities.  Awards are designed to provide seed funding in the areas of 1) Teaching and Engagement and 2) Research and Engagement.  Funded projects foster the discovery of new opportunities and the development of innovative solutions to challenges facing rural people and places.

2016 RFI Competitive Awards Proposals Accepted to receive funding include:

1. Research & Engagement
Identifying the Interrelationships Between Social Determinants, Self-identity, and Public Health in Minority Rural Communities: Photovoice + Random Spatial Sampling Survey
Enhancing Nebraska's Ecotourism Industry
Rural Prosperity Research Project
Raising Awareness of Health Professionals Education Among Rural Nebraska Latino Youth

2. Teaching & Engagement
Facilitating the Implementation of Social Media Plans for Small Businesses & Local Non-Profits through Service Learning at UNK
UNK Article
Art at Cedar Point
Minority Health Disparities Initiative (MHDI): Youth Are Rural Health Program (YouRhealth)
Understanding Hispanics and Sense of Community in Rural Nebraska
CEEM Project: A New Community Engagement Education Model

3.  Special Projects
Collaborative Capacity Building in Rural Nebraska Schools via Technology
For more information on the accepted proposals, visit the 2016 RFI Competitive Awards page.

Could your business use an analysis of how a future product will perform in the market?  Do you need help understanding or reaching your customers?  Is your community ready to grow and learn the needs and wants of its residents? 

 Call 308-865-8199 for more information and a FREE initial consultation, including a customized, professional research design plan.

Rapid Prototyping

Prototype PictureDid you know? Rapid Prototyping can be done at UNK!
UNK is here to help with your prototyping needs. Businesses of all sizes and shapes (no pun intended) can use this great technology to build a model, or even a fully-functional part, for concept development, sales or testing of fit and function.

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