Shawn Kaskie
Center for Rural Research and Development director, 308.865.8135

“The Hay Stinger,” a design for a hay bale mover, has earned Chris Trumler of Rockville first place and $1,000 in the Central Nebraska Business Idea Contest.

“He is a full time United States Department of Agriculture inspector living in Rockville, so he has little time to devote to his passion of farming,” said Shawn Kaskie, director of the Center for Rural Research and Development (CRRD) at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The CRRD sponsored the competition.

“He developed his solution, because the tractor takes too much time and expense when moving single bales more than a mile,” Kaskie said. A video of the project can be seen atwww.youtube.com/watch?v=aN-9aYyCOyg

In all, there were 67 entries for the contest, but only the top 10 finalists gave live presentations about their product or service, what it serves, who the customers might be, and how they would make it available to their customers. One alternate presented, because a top 10 participant was not able to attend.

The $1,000 prize was jointly donated by Dan Hoffman of Invest Nebraska Inc. and Darren Robinson of the Buffalo County Economic Development. Each donated $500. The two also served as a panel, much like the panel of entrepreneurs on the reality television series “Shark Tank,” and narrowed the field of 10 presentations to the final three. The crowd attending the final competition presentations voted for the winner from this these three finalists. More than 100 people attended the competition, which took place recently in downtown Kearney.

“The purpose of this event was to support a culture of entrepreneurship in the area by providing participants with invaluable feedback through networking with other entrepreneurs and community leaders,” Kaskie said. “The event was such a success that we plan on having at least one every year.”

Second and third place went to Nicholas “Nic” Stoll, a UNK geography major from Marysville, Kan., and Drue Waldron of Kearney. Stoll’s idea, the Stoll Tool Socket Organizer, is for a container system that would organize and hold all sockets as well as attach to a wall for easy storage. Stoll’s video presentation is available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_JPS86WKsI. Waldron’s idea, “RoofSafe,” is a device used with ladders or other equipment to ensure the safety of a person working on a roof. His video can be seen at http://youtu.be/OBbACAOiY4w.

Others who placed in the top 10 in the competition, listed alphabetically by community, include:

– Jason Luong, a Doane College student from Cozad, and one of his partners, Joe Jasper ofColumbus, shared their Scatter Kindness Clothing business. They have designed T-shirts and other apparel to raise suicide awareness, and for every shirt sold, $1 is donated to the Ganley Foundation, an organization that educates communities about depression and challenges the stigmas that prevent proper intervention and treatment. The video can be seen at:www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J7qNaNuL6E.

-Tyler Clay, a UNK master of business administration student from Elm Creek, presented his idea “Before I Do.” The idea was for an online bridal shop. His video is athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSCOgNlx90g.

– Tyler Clifford, a UNK business major from Hayes Center, presented his idea for, Easy Shop, which is essentially a GPS for a shopping cart which will help customers locate items and sales within a store. His video can be seen at http://youtu.be/bf5wl4LX62c.

– Dirk Christensen of Kearney. Christensen’s idea, titled “Print Last Page (PLP?),” is about software that gives a choice to print, or not print, the last page of a computer generated document that is either blank or has information on it that isn’t needed. According to Christensen, the software would be used by businesses who would save money on ink and paper. His video can be seen atwww.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7gcpzTQ6wU.

– Hyeonphyo Hwang, a UNK student from Korea. Hwang’s idea was titled “Disintermediation With IT.” The idea is that individuals would order locally produced farm-fresh produce online from the farmer rather than purchasing the products from a Farmer’s Market. The video presentation is available at: www.youtube.com/watch/HWAmRmMs4N4.

– Minden High School student MaKayla Rutt, with her idea “Vision in White.” Dresses for weddings, proms, sorority formals or other special occasion would all be found in one store. Rutt’s video can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG_5QNoxpDE.

– Robert “Scott” Rager of Orleans and his idea Orleans Hotel Revitalization. The idea is about reopening an old hotel located in Orleans and upgrading everything in it from the rooms to the restaurant, and including guest services that promote tourism of Harlan County. The video is atwww.youtube.com/watch?v=ftAeeyIDHy8.

According to Kaskie, the UNK CRRD plans to host a full business plan competition next spring.