University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken has announced the winners of two NU awards honoring extraordinary efforts in entrepreneurship: the Walter Scott Entrepreneurial Business Award and the Peter Kiewit Student Entrepreneurial Award.
The Walter Scott award is designed to encourage existing businesses with a presence in Nebraska to create partnerships with the University of Nebraska in the area of technology. The award comes with a $10,000 prize to be used for the promotion and/or creation of student work experiences in the fields of information science, technology and engineering.
This year’s Scott award winner is Hollman Media, LLC, a Kearney-based web development business founded by University of Nebraska at Kearney graduates Travis and Angela Hollman. The company – whose staff is made up almost entirely of UNK students and alumni – develops mobile apps and other web-based business solutions. Hollman Media will re-invest its prize back into the university by working with UNK to create a new technology internship program designed to create hands-on learning opportunities for student interns who want to help develop digital technology.
Hollman Media is a frequent and engaging partner to the university. The company hires interns from multiple UNK departments, provides speakers for campus events and has developed web-based solutions that directly benefit UNK, including an online ticketing system for UNK Athletics and a weather notification system that allows UNK to more quickly alert the community to cancellations. Hollman Media is currently developing the “Kearney App,” an app that will leverage mobile technology to better attract visitors and new businesses to the Kearney area. The project involves major businesses and organizations in the city, including UNK – giving Hollman Media interns a unique opportunity to work directly with community leaders.
Additionally, Hollman Media is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a mobile app based on the work of USDA researchers in Nebraska that could be used by cattle producers around the country. An earlier app developed by the company, My StuffFinder, was featured in the New York Times last year.
“Hollman Media is the kind of entrepreneurial success story we hope to encourage and facilitate: It started with two University of Nebraska graduates who started with little beyond a great idea and the drive to see it through,” Milliken said. “Today they are successful business owners who are helping to create jobs, keep talent in Nebraska and grow the innovation economy in Kearney and around the state. I am tremendously proud of Travis and Angela Hollman and I thank them for their continued partnership with the university. I’m confident we will see many more great things from their company.”
Travis Hollman, president and managing member, said the company’s decision to commit its prize to a new internship program at UNK embodied the spirit of the Scott award.
“Winning an award as prestigious as the one bearing Walter Scott’s name is a high point in anyone’s career. We are honored and humbled to be permanently added to the list of distinguished businesses who have already won this award,” Hollman said. “UNK and the other University of Nebraska campuses consistently set the bar when it comes to reaching out to the business community and incentivizing companies to create partnerships in the area of technology. The Scott award is a terrific example of that.”
The Peter Kiewit award recognizes University of Nebraska students who have directed their energies, ideas and talents toward community and business improvements with the creative and innovative use of information technology. The award is accompanied by a $2,500 prize.
This year’s Kiewit award winner is the Enactus (“Entrepreneurship Action and Us”) team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Enactus owns three student-run businesses at UNL whose profits allow the team to support a variety of community outreach projects, each related to business or entrepreneurship. For example, Enactus supports the LisaMom Foundation, which aids Nebraska families affected by cancer by providing meals, cleaning, lawn care, child care and other services.
Enactus also has partnered with a nonprofit organization in Sri Lanka that helps women there gain independence by selling their handmade jewelry. To expand the potential market for the women, Enactus students are using social media and online marketplaces to connect local businesses with the nonprofit, in hopes of bringing the jewelry to Nebraska shoppers. In a separate project, the Enactus team is partnering with a cooperative farming community in Zambia to help provide financial education to local farmers. The students have developed a technology-based curriculum to help teach the farmers about business, budgeting, basic economics, financial literacy and other important topics. With the lessons, delivered via information technology, the students hope to help the farmers be more profitable.
Enactus supports these and other projects with profits from student-run businesses on campus: coffee shops in the College of Business Administration and Jorgensen Hall, and an eBay business that provides UNL departments the opportunity to sell surplus inventory.
“The students of Enactus have shown remarkable creativity, leadership and an ability to know what people need – and how to leverage technology and use creative funding strategies to help them get it,” Milliken said. “While still in school, these UNL students have already begun successful careers in social entrepreneurship. Their talents are already making a difference in communities both in Nebraska and around the world, and I could not be more proud of their spirit, commitment and intelligent activism that is yielding such positive results.”
Murphy Larson, a senior majoring in finance and marketing who serves as internal vice president of Enactus, said the team will use its award to advance its project in Zambia.
“The UNL Enactus students believe that entrepreneurship has the power to change communities and peoples’ lives for the better,” Larson said. “We are honored and humbled to have received the Peter Kiewit Student Entrepreneurial Award. We believe this award will help us to have an even stronger impact on the people we serve in Lincoln and around the world. We’re grateful to the University of Nebraska for creating an environment in which student entrepreneurship is taught, encouraged and rewarded.”
Both the Scott and Kiewit award winners were honored at a luncheon this week.
Contact: Melissa Lee
(402) 580-3297 (cell)