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Young entrepreneurs discover strengths at summer internship
Te’a Cushman, Northeast Rocket softball player and daughter of Rachelle Woodbury and Brent Cushman, wasn’t thinking about a career in business. Perhaps someday she’d go into law or medicine. So, when she took Gallup’s Builder Profile 10 (BP10) assessment in civics class, all she could think was, “Why would I ever need this?”
She discovered that she had a propensity for selling and the confidence and approachability that were hallmarks for successful entrepreneurs. Now, she’s spending part of her summer with 21 other students, developing their strengths, entrepreneurial skills, leadership and dedication to build a successful team and profitable t-shirt business.
The Lincoln students taking part in the Future Builders program at the Clifton Strengths Institute at UNL’s College of Business were chosen to participate after taking the BP10. In the assessment, each student showed the aptitude to become an entrepreneur, innovator and builder. This select group of 22 out of 3,200 students who were given the assessment were invited to participate in the intensive month-long Future Builders program.
“One of the main areas of focus for Prosper Lincoln is to connect the next generation to the innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities here in Lincoln,” said Rich Claussen, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ambassador for Prosper Lincoln. “This initiative helps do just that. And the support of our founding investors for this effort – their time talent and treasure – is what made it happen.”
Sam Hurt, son of Shannon and Jim Hurt, will be a sophomore at Southwest High School. He was on the winning pitch competition team that competed in April. The team proposed a program that would help those incarcerated to manage finances to reduce recidivism upon release. He believes the Future Builders program is extremely valuable to the students. “Everyone makes mistakes in business and these mistakes have the potential to ruin lives,” he said. “To learn these lessons in this way can help us prevent those mistakes and will allow us to create sustainable businesses.”
During the program, the students address goals identified in the Prosper Lincoln community agenda including building a vibrant culture of innovation. The students are guided by local entrepreneurs and business leaders to develop the skills necessary to create a successful t-shirt business.
Jada Skalak, daughter of Steve and Donna Skalak, will be a sophomore at Northstar next year. She’s part of the Future Builders social media team as well as inventory and operations. “I’ve particularly enjoyed using my strengths and the strengths of my team members to work well together.”
Ashley Clegg is one of the few Future Builders participants that is not a sophomore. The BP10 assessment was given to freshman as well as students of all ages taking business classes or in business clubs. Ashley, the daughter of Stephen and Barbara Clegg, was a senior at East when she took the assessment in a business class.
“I knew when I took the BP10 that it was very Gallup-style,” she said. “It pointed out a lot of things about myself that I didn’t know.”
Ashley, who will be a freshman at UNL’s Raikes School of Business majoring in marketing, believes the Future Builders program is important for Lincoln. “We’re creating a future of entrepreneurship for Lincoln, where we can be a hub of creativity and innovation. Supporting this program is one of the best ways to give back because it builds the economy in Lincoln.”
The Future Builders program in Lincoln is sponsored by Gallup, Nelnet, Spreetail, Bill Cintani, Lincoln Industries, The Jim and Penny Krieger Family Foundation, Prosper Lincoln, Don't Panic Labs, Ameritas, Lincoln Community Foundation, Select Lincoln | Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, Assurity Life Insurance Company, The Strengths Lab, Accelerate Nebraska and the Clifton Strengths Institute at the College of Business.