Making connections between University of Nebraska–Lincoln entrepreneurial students and Lincoln businesses is a passion for Dr. Sam Nelson, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and assistant professor of practice of management. Nelson now has an even greater opportunity to support students and the community through his selection to participate on the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Task Force through the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.
Nelson believes the past success of entrepreneurial students at the Center for Entrepreneurship is a big reason he was picked to serve on the task force.
“We previously worked with the Lincoln Chamber and had funding success with young entrepreneurs that were my students,” Nelson said. “I think it was logical for them to engage with us and continue to build relationships between our students and Lincoln businesses. One role I can serve is communicating the insights into where students are at in this stage of their life, and what they need to take the next step for creating a business.”
The reciprocal nature of the relationship will produce two positive results for the Center for Entrepreneurship students, according to Nelson.
“We have a lot of students who are interested in studying entrepreneurship but aren’t ready to start a business. Giving them the chance to work in a startup that allows them to wear different hats and get a feeling for that dynamic helps them sort out exactly whether or not starting a business from the ground up is for them,” he said.
He also sees the relationship with the task force as an additional networking resource for students who are ready to start a business.
“A lot of the people on the task force have already helped our students along the way. As our students formulate their business ideas they’re already familiar with a lot of the key players, networks and service providers. In return, the community businesses get exposed to fresh new talent who have been studying topics like lean startup, business model generation and how to manage your key performance indicators,” Nelson said.
The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Task Force was created as a strategic recommendation after meetings between the Partnership for Economic Development and Angelou Economics of Austin, Texas. The purpose of the meetings was to make Lincoln a globally competitive city.
“We’ve received a lot of recent national positive press here in Lincoln from Forbes, Bloomberg and other media,” Nelson said. “It’s starting to make Lincoln a very desirable place for people to relocate when they realize the entrepreneurial ecosystem we have here.”