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3, 2, 1 Pitch Competition Marks 11th Year

Tuesday, November 5th marked the eleventh 3, 2, 1 Quick Pitch hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. The event gave 93 students three minutes a piece to present their business concept to panels of judges in Morrill Hall.  “We encourage students to pitch the craziest things they can…

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Tuesday, November 5th marked the eleventh 3, 2, 1 Quick Pitch hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. The event gave 93 students three minutes a piece to present their business concept to panels of judges in Morrill Hall. 

“We encourage students to pitch the craziest things they can come up with.” Says Sam Nelson, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, “Preferable they will try and think through what a business model looks like. But really we’re just trying to get them in front of folks to try and articulate their ideas.”

The students were split into nine different flights, with $1,000 awarded for each flight. The judges picked the top three from each cohort to evenly share the prize money.

One winner was Lillian Uwanjye (at left), a student from Rwanda entering her junior year. The idea she pitched was a sustainable fish farm in her home country called Faith-It Agriculture. She landed on the idea while writing a research paper on the lack of animal protein in her home country.

When asked what makes her farm unique, she said, “It solves multiple problems in the market, such as mal-nourishment, the lack of fish in the market, and also a way of national security. For example, we won’t have to rely as heavily on other countries in case we need to close our borders to trade.”  

Is she hoping to go start this as soon as she graduates? 

“So much so.” Lillian said.

Another winner was Lincoln-native, Levi Gipson, who’s in his third year of the MBA program. The business he pitched was 3T Sports Bracing. The 3T’s comes from three tiers of it’s business, 3D scanning, isokinetic dynamometers and 3D printing. 

The idea came to him while thinking about where his current employer, Aryse, should be moving in the marketplace. Aryse currently does 3D printing and scanning, but does not do anything with isokinetic dynamometers.

“An isokinetic dynamometer is a machine that measures force output, which creates more data to help create a brace more exact to a human body.” Says Levi.

Sam Nelson, the Center for Entrepreneurship Director, encouraged him to participate in the event last year.  But, Gipson felt that he was not quite ready to preview his idea.  This year he was looking for feedback from the leaders in Lincoln’s entrepreneurial community on his business idea.

When asked what he’s going to do with the money, he said, “I have a meeting later this week and am going to tell my company that I did this and that it’s a good idea. We’re already on the frontier of 3D printing. This will probably be in the works in a few years. I’m just trying to get greedy by being so innovative.”

Some previous companies that have grown from this Quick Pitch competition is Lizz Whitacre’s Pawlytics, Anne Bochman’s Helping Oats, and Hannah Esch’s Oak Barn Beef.  The competition takes place in the fall, but the Center for Entrepreneurship has additional innovation programming throughout the year, including the Innovation Challenge and New Venture Competition.

Nick Castner, the reporter on this story, hosts a podcasts that uncovers the process of leading disruptive change called The Commonwealth. Listen on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or Buzzsprout.

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