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Opening Students' Eyes to the World of Innovation
For more than a decade, Lincoln has been emerging as a hub for entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology. And now, thanks to the Inside/Outside Innovation Summit, there’s a conference dedicated to the growth of all three. The inaugural event, which hosted more than 500 attendees and dozens of corporations and startups, was held June 19-21 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Keynote speakers from all over the country came to talk about how to navigate the often choppy waters of new technologies and emerging markets. Break-out sessions and workshops provided hands-on experience for all attendees.
When Brian Ardinger from local enterprise consulting firm, Econic, received a grant from the Lincoln Community Foundation (LCF) along with support from other sponsors, the Inside/Outside Innovation Summit was born. Through the grant, LCF earned its place as a sponsor for the event. But rather than traditional sponsorship benefit, LCF used that money to do something incredible to further the Prosper Lincoln community agenda. By granting scholarships to high school students to attend the Summit, innovation was introduced to the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Prosper Lincoln’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ambassador, Rich Claussen contacted principals and administrators from every high school in Lincoln. These administrators were asked to pick one or two rising sophomores or juniors who would greatly benefit from attending the summit. In the end, eighteen students received scholarships to attend the event free of charge, and every high school in Lincoln was represented. The summit was meant to teach students to think differently about college decisions and career paths, and, according to the kids, it did exactly that.
“I learned about business and how important innovation is,” said Caitlin Vancura, one of the student attendees. “I also got to learn about a lot of new startups and meet amazing people.”
“The opportunity has given me a new motivation to become an entrepreneur in the near future,” said Angelina Tran, a student attendee from Lincoln High School.
At $699 per person, the summit registration is simply not feasible for many students and their families. Through the summit and other innovative approaches, Prosper Lincoln and LCF want to continue to get more students thinking about entrepreneurship and innovation at a young age.