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Entrepreneurs honored, business ideas pitched at innovation events

Two of the 2011 Nebraska Distinguished Entrepreneur Award winners, Steve Kiene of Nebraska Global (left) and Charlie Hull of Archrival, at Innovation Night. Photo by Kate Ellingson.

The Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship started last week with Innovation Night on Monday and then Tuesday held a venture competition, the Nebraska Innovation Competition. At this year’s Innovation Night, current entrepreneurs were honored with the Nebraska Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. This year’s recipients were Charlie Hull and Clint Runge of Archrival, Steve Kiene of Nebraska Global, Jack Henry of Global Industries and John Lund of OFFWIRE.

During Innovation Night, student teams from around the world had the chance to showcase their businesses before competing in the Nebraska Innovation Competition the next day.

Here are photos from the two-day event. (All photos by Kate Ellingson.)

Members of the team from SMS Snacks, from Northern Arizona University, talk about their business, a text message-based concessions service that will provide sports fans the ability to order concessions using their cell phone and have their order brought to them at their seat.

Rebound Shoes, from University of British Columbia, offers replaceable soles for running shoes.

Booths set up at Innovation Night included 24 teams from around the world, 12 undergraduate and 12 graduate.

A student from Giant Eel Productions from University of Michigan tells Wendy Birdsall, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce president, about his company. Giant Eel is an independent media company that uses a unique stereographic production methodology to offer 3D/HD commercial media.

Graduate Division winners from University of Louisville pose with Kathleen Thornton (holding the check). TNG Pharmaceuticals is further developing a vaccine that will significantly reduce the horn fly population. The vaccine hinders the ability of the horn fly to effectively feed on cattle by counteracting the horn fly’s anti-clotting agent, Thrombosin.

Organizers say venture competitions are not only good for competitors but also for the surrounding community.

“We would like to expand on a community that already really embraces entrepreneurship and make this be some place that young, startup companies want to come and launch their business,” said Kathleen Thornton, acting director of the Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship.

Here is the list of venture competition winners.

Graduate Division

  • First place: TNG Pharmaceuticals, University of Louisville ($20,000, or $7,000 if the business is not launched in Lincoln) 
  • Second place: Purisorb Inc., Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia ($3,000) 
  • Third place: TheraCord, Johns Hopkins University ($1,500) 
  • Honorable mention: Hemova, Johns Hopkins University ($1,000)

Undergraduate Division

  • First place: Kalood, Brigham Young University ($4,000) 
  • Second place: ReFleX Wireless, University of British Columbia ($2,000) 
  • Third place: Giant Eel Productions, University of Michigan ($1,000) 
  • Honorable Mention: FeedBAC Inc., University of Manitoba ($500)

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