Zach Shultz
SIFE team president, or 308.380.0873

More than 100 high school students from 14 area schools recently competed in the University of Nebraska at Kearney Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) New Venture Adventure Day.

New Venture Adventure Day was an entrepreneurial experience in which both university and high school students developed leadership and business skills. UNK students coached high school students to develop business proposals that were presented to local business leaders at the end of the day.

High school students participated from Amherst, Callaway, Grand Island Central Catholic, Grand Island Northwest, Hastings, Kearney High, Kenesaw, Litchfield, Overton, Pleasanton, Sandhills, Sandy Creek, Sumner-Eddyville-Merna (SEM) and Wilcox-Hildreth.

Students were divided into teams to create a retail, service, or manufacturing business. They then crafted a mission statement and business card for that new company. Teams also identified financing requirements of the new venture and met with local finance professionals to obtain the funding needed.

The teams then met with mock realtors to negotiate a lease for their operations. Teams also had to rationalize their case for an international trade decision involving an ethical dilemma with another local business professional. They also developed entertaining commercials to promote their new business. Finally, each team presented their overall business concept to a panel of judges comprised of local business professionals and UNK staff.

The “Breaking Barriers” team was recognized as Grand Champion. Team members, listed alphabetically by high school, include:
Amherst- Stephanie Duennerman, Kenesaw- Nick Burr, Litchfield- Kate Sweley, Pleasanton-Kara Dauel, Sandy Creek (Fairfield)- Alex Johnsey and Sumner-Eddyville-Merna (SEM)- Lance English

Two teams, The Green Sombrero and Smart Cars Classic, were named league winners. Members of the Green Sombrero include:
Amherst- Clayton Dana, Callaway- Kaden Ellis, Grand Island Northwest- Melanie Griess and Rene Lopez, Litchfield- Taylor Monks, Sandy Creek (Fairfield)- Micki Startk, Sumner-Eddyville-Merna (SEM)- Nolan Smith and Wilcox-Hildreth- Stuart Fritz
Smart Cars Classic team members include: Callaway- Mason Lashley, Grand Island Northwest– Tiffany Weekley and Niclas Moeller, Kearney High School– Josh Lundell, Kenesaw– Makaleigh Nilson, Litchfield– Kaitlin Kratzer, Pleasanton– Mallary Paitz,
Sandhills (Dunning)- Chantelle Milleson and Overton– Chellci Lessig.

The event was sponsored by UNK Center for Rural Research and Development, Intellicom, Walgreens, Xpanxion and Runza.

Bankers, realtors and judges who worked with the students include: Riley Mollard, Joel Wheeler and Matt Schall, Farmers & Merchants Bank; Joseph Cochran, Wells Fargo; Scott Geiger, Geneva State Bank; Jack McSweeney, Century 21; Matt Meister and Scott Wemhoff, Coldwell Banker; Jon Watts, UNK Business Services; Eric Helligrel, Skeeter Barnes; Todd Herges and Eddie Laraga, Intellicom Inc.; Eric Trettle and Michael Cudabeck, Xpanxion; Dr. Joseph Oravecz, UNK dean of Student Affairs; Dr. Timothy Burkink, dean of the UNK College of Business and Technology; and Sara McMillan, SIFE Alumni.

This contest is just one of many educational outreach activities offered by the UNK SIFE team this year. Founded in 1975 and active on more than 1,400 college and university campuses in 47 countries, SIFE is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with business and higher education to provide college students the opportunity to make a difference, and to develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise. For more information, individuals can contact Shawn Kaskie, UNK SIFE Team adviser, 308.865.8135.