The Peter Kiewit Student Entrepreneurial Award is designed to recognize 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.
2014 Award Winner: Enactus
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.”