Mavericks encouraged to enter business plan competition for a chance at $3000

Photo Courtesy of

Megan DeBoer

The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Business Administration’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Franchising is encouraging students to enter the seventh annual Maverick Business Plan Competition for a chance to win up to $3,000.

Interested students should create a simplified business plan that presents an opportunity with a logical proposal. Plans can include new and novel innovations, create a more efficient implementation or secure new markets for an existing technology. The deadline to enter is April 17 at 11:59 p.m.

Students enrolled in a degree program at UNO, the University of Nebraska Medical Center or Peter Kiewit Institute are eligible to compete. Faculty and alumni are welcome to team up with interested students, but teams may not compete if their idea is part of another enterprise or has raised angel or VC funding.

“Between 30 to 60 students submit a written 10-page plan to the contest,” Director of CIEF Dale Eesley said. “From this, a panel of faculty judges whittle the list down to the six most promising plans.”

At the final competition, the budding entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas with a display of concepts fair, where guests can greet students and ask questions about their businesses. Students will then have a total of five minutes to pitch their ventures in front of a room of 150 people, including professionals from the Omaha business community.

A panel consisting of five to seven judges will weigh the proposals for market opportunity, practicality and impact, followed by five minutes of Q&A.

Grand prizes include $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place, plus a special prize for a business that “incorporates sustainability into its plan,” Eesley said. In addition, audience members will have the chance to win $300 in door prizes.

College of Business Administration Office Assistant Leslie Klusaw attended the 2016 competition and said she was “thoroughly impressed” by the student’s innovations.

“It was the first event I attended as a UNO employee,” Klusaw said. “Since I didn’t know much about the College of Business, it was a good introductory event to see what our students really had to offer.”

Taylor Korensky, who graduated from UNO in May 2016, took first place in the 2016 competition with his first-of-its-kind trap shooting mobile application, iTrapp. This app is not only customized for advanced tracking and scoring used by the traditional Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), but also provides unparalleled statistics to recognize strengths and weaknesses for each shooter.

“The plans most likely to win aren’t necessarily the most profitable,” Eesley said. “Instead, they
are the ideas that identify a need, have a realistic plan for addressing it and can sustain itself financially. Even better are plans where the student has not only conducted research, but has designed a prototype, has current users or already started testing their concept in the market place.”

First-year UNO graduate student Miles Russell will hold coaching sessions in room 303 in Mammal Hall on March 15 and 29 and April 5 from 5-6 p.m. In the sessions, Russell will assist students in constructing valuable concepts, identifying customers and perfecting their plans before the final competition on April 27 from 6 – 7:15 p.m.

To participate in the 2017 Maverick Business Plan Competition, submit a plan as an email attachment to Dr. Dale Eesley at