KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development hosted its annual Light It Up! celebration April 14 in Discovery Hall on campus.
The event included an awards ceremony, keynote address from freelance copywriter and The Curtain and Pen owner Lauren Bonk and presentation from the Cultivate student organization, which assisted Pioneer Village in Minden through a grant-supported community project launched this year.
“This is always one of my favorite evenings filled with entrepreneurial energy. It is a privilege to recognize the efforts of business professionals,” said Lisa Tschauner, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development. “Entrepreneurship and innovation are key components to sustaining our economy in central Nebraska. Having moments like this to raise awareness and support those efforts is important to the College of Business and Technology at UNK.”
Award winners, selected for their business contributions and successes in the Kearney area, are:
Student Entrepreneur – Nathan Murray, a UNK senior and owner of Murray Marketing.
Emerging Entrepreneur – Dusty Birge, owner/founder of Snappy Workflow. He’s also a UNK graduate and Big Idea Kearney finalist.
Excellence in Entrepreneurship – Kirk Zeller, founder of the Silicon Prairie Center, co-founder of Progressive NEURO Inc. and an award-winning filmmaker.
Entrepreneurship Advocate – Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce and President/CEO Derek Rusher.
UNK Entrepreneur Alumni – Dan Williams, a 1993 graduate of the industrial distribution program, owner of Williams Enterprises and founder of Titan Tools.
The Light It Up! celebration is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development and UNK College of Business and Technology.