University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken has announced the 2011 winner of one of the university’s most prestigious awards for entrepreneurship: the Walter Scott Entrepreneurial Business Award.
This year’s Scott award winner is Nebraska Global, a Lincoln-based venture capital fund that invests in startup software companies in order to build a vibrant, competitive technology environment in Nebraska. Nebraska Global’s slogan – “Develop here” – reflects its commitment to helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and raise their families in Nebraska, creating a more prosperous economy for the state.
“Nebraska Global is a great partner in efforts to build a knowledge-based innovation economy in Nebraska, which is essential to the state growing and thriving in the 21st century,” Milliken said. “I commend Nebraska Global for its efforts in mentoring our students, partnering with the university and helping to ensure the long-term economic success of Nebraska.”
The Walter Scott award is designed to encourage existing businesses with a presence in Nebraska to create partnerships with NU 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.
Nebraska Global intends to use the prize to support its summer internship program for college students enrolled in technology-related degree programs. Twenty-two students are expected to intern at Nebraska Global this summer, gaining valuable real-life experience in the venture capital process and, for upperclassmen, becoming completely integrated into Nebraska Global’s senior development team. The Walter Scott prize will provide seed funding for a business idea from these interns.
Nebraska Global mentors students in other ways as well. For example, Nebraska Global sponsors a design studio project with a group of students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management. The students are spearheading an office automation product using hardware and software. They were deeply involved in brainstorming the product and are writing the code, designing user interfaces and testing the solution with Nebraska Global’s assistance. The students are being exposed to new technologies and the inner workings of a technology startup company, and Nebraska Global has developed a video-sharing tool so students can see recordings of company meetings. Nebraska Global employees also teach classes at UNL on topics such as software architecture, database design and management.
Patrick Smith, Nebraska Global principal and chief operating officer, said the company is honored to receive the Scott award in recognition for its efforts in working with the Raikes school and its faculty and students.
“We are adamant that while the university strives to educate and graduate the best students possible, it is the responsibility of private businesses to shoulder the burden of providing real opportunities, not the token stuff too many companies try to paint as an opportunity, while these kids are in school,” Smith said. “Our community’s ability to create sustainable, high-paying, 21st-century jobs that smart kids seek is one of the very few game-changers that matter for an expanded technology climate in our state. Almost everything else is just talk.”
Nebraska Global will be honored during a luncheon later in the spring.
Contact: Melissa Lee