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Announcing the Big Omaha ticket winner, a 19-year-old entrepreneur

Last week, we sifted through our Kauffman Foundation ticket giveaway entries – nine video entries and more than 30 written responses – and selected Brett Neese, a college student from Ottumwa, Iowa as the winner of the Big Omaha ticket contest.

In his VYou response (above), Neese described his emerging role as a student entrepreneur on The Prairie. He shared his story of acclimating himself to the Des Moines startup culture and how the community of entrepreneurs stays focused on the people behind the startup companies.

“There are incredible people who are more than willing to sit down with you and have a cup of coffee and offer their advice.” 

He finishes his video with why he wants to attend Big Omaha and answering the contest question about participating in an entrepreneurial community. For him, the attendees of Big Omaha are those entrepreneurs who want to help one another and mentor those taking risks much like those he’s interacted with in Iowa. He notes his previous experience with some of the Big Omaha speakers and relays that “entrepreneurs are a unique set of people and getting them together has a really powerful effect.” At Big Omaha, Brett and our other 599 attendees have the opportunity to be a part of that “powerful” impact and we’re happy to include him as when we start the conference later this week.

If you’re attending Big Omaha, give a hat tip to Brett and welcome him the Big Omaha ride. Our thanks again to the Kauffman Foundation for providing this opportunity.

Below are a few runner-up responses we felt were worth sharing:

Big Omaha represents a chance to not only listen to great speakers, but just to talk and brainstorm with 500 other people who share a passion. At the end of the day, I think entrepreneurial communities are about bringing together a ton of passionate people and giving them the chance to interact and learn from one another. You might be doing something that is totally different than who you’re talking to, but you share a common bond in the drive to create amazing products, services, or organizations. If you get enough of these people together and talking, then I think some amazing new ideas can come out of it.

– John McCarthy

Iron sharpens iron and some of the strongest and sharpest entrepreneurs in the country will be at Big Omaha, there is no where else I should be.  Participating in an entrepreneurial community means acceptance, change, growth, mistakes, and one hell of a place to be witness of thought innovation.

– Gabe Romero

Participating in an entrepreneurial community is good citizenship at its core. It’s about doing your part to improve the quality of life for your family, your neighbors, your coworkers, and your friends (or helping others do the same for theirs).  It’s about building something that is bigger than (and lasts longer than) you. 

I want to go to Big Omaha because merely following the hashtag for this event during previous years has changed my life – I can’t imagine what actually attending would do.

– Patrick O’Conner

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