Nebraska Events

Click here for the 2018-2019 Entrepreneurship Events, Competitions, and Conferences in Nebraska.

Nebraska Career Education Conference
Younes Conference Center & Holiday Inn Convention Center – Kearney, NE
Click the above link for conference information & updates.

The NCE Conference will offer sessions focused on “how to” infuse entrepreneurship into career technical education classes and programs.  In addition, the 2nd Annual NCE Conference Innovative Educators Quick Pitch competition will offer an opportunity for any Career Education teacher, school counselor, or administrator to share their great work with others…for cash prizes.
Pitches of innovative ideas are judged in three categories:

  • Innovative CTSO Activity
  • Effective Community Outreach
  • Outstanding Classroom Best Practice




National Events

2018 Entrepreneurship Forum Attendee Packet

September 28-30, 2018 • Pittsburgh, PA • What’s Your Big Idea?

This year’s conference theme comes from the America’s Entrepreneurial Schools Initiative, in which we ask each participating school to provide at least one entrepreneurial experience for every student within the school building within the school year. We challenge each school to think outside of the box and ask, “What’s your big idea for bringing entrepreneurship to your school or classroom?”

Join us as we hear from passionate speakers in entrepreneurship and education. Network with your peers, make connections, and help develop the next big idea that will create the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. We invite and encourage active participation throughout the conference as we provide an engaging and hands-on schedule.


NACCE Conference

October 7-10, 2018 • Fort Worth, TX • The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Revolution – Steering Your Community Towards Prosperity Through Entrepreneurship


National Content Standards for Entrepreneurship Education


There are fifteen major standards, which are divided into the following three major sections:

  • Entrepreneurial Skills
    The unique traits, behaviors and processes that differentiate an entrepreneur from an employee or manager.
  • Ready Skills
    The business, or entrepreneurial, knowledge and skills that are prerequisites or co-requisites for the study of entrepreneurship.
  • Business Functions
    The business activities performed in starting and running a business. Overlying the Ready Skills and Business Functions are the Entrepreneurial Skills, the processes and traits/behaviors applicable to new ventures and ongoing ventures that create/drive/change economic activity – new markets, new products, new businesses, etc. These non-sequential, often overlapping, stages of the entrepreneurial process are:

    • Discovery – The stage in the entrepreneurial process in which the entrepreneur generates ideas, recognizes opportunities, and determines the feasibility of ideas, markets, ventures, etc.
    • Concept Development – The stage in the entrepreneurial process in which the entrepreneur plans the venture, identifies needed resources using a business plan, identifies strategies to protect intellectual property, etc.
    • Resourcing – The stage in the entrepreneurial process in which the entrepreneur identifies and acquires the financial, human, and capital resources needed for the venture startup, etc.
    • Actualization – The stage in the entrepreneurial process in which the entrepreneur operates the venture and utilizes resources to achieve its goals/objectives.
    • Harvesting – The stage in the entrepreneurial process in which the entrepreneur decides on the venture’s future (growth, development, demise). These five stages of the entrepreneurial process, along with the individual traits and behaviors associated with the successful entrepreneur, comprise the set of “Entrepreneurship Skills” listed in the National Content Standards for Entrepreneurship Education.

National Content Standards for Entrepreneurship Education

Standards Toolkit (PDF)

Summary List of Standards (PDF) (Word)

Detailed List of Standards (PDF) (Word)

Assessment Rubric for National Standards of Practice-Entrepreneurship (PDF)

Entrepreneurship Standards-Application to Lifelong Learning Model (Excel)

Power Point Slides – Summary(PPT)

Power Point Slides – Detail (PPT)



Entrepreneurship Education Header

2018 Entrepreneurship Forum Attendee Packet

September 28-30, 2018 • Pittsburgh, PA • What’s Your Big Idea?

This year’s conference theme comes from the America’s Entrepreneurial Schools Initiative, in which we ask each participating school to provide at least one entrepreneurial experience for every student within the school building within the school year. We challenge each school to think outside the box and ask, “What’s your big idea for bringing entrepreneurship to your school or classroom?”

Join us as we hear from passionate speakers in entrepreneurship and education. Network with your peers, make connections, and help develop the next big idea that will create the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. We invite and encourage active participation throughout the conference as we provide and engaging and hands-on schedule.


L-R:  Craig Schroeder, Jamie Robinson, Judy Amoo

The Nebraska Entrepreneurship Task Force (NETForce) and co-sponsor, the Nebraska Enterprise Fund, presented special awards to three Nebraska leaders noted for their leadership in entrepreneurship advocacy and entrepreneurship education during the Entrepreneurship Best Practices Summit at Nebraska at the Kearney Holiday Inn and Conference Center on November 2nd.

The Summit focuses on enhancing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nebraska through networking, sharing what works, and highlighting Big Ideas in entrepreneurship.  The presentations were made at the conclusion of a luncheon and keynote by Lisa Tschauner, Assistant Director, UNK Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development.

The awards were:

  • Outstanding Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year presented to Jamie Robinson, Millard South High School, Entrepreneurship Academy Instructor.
  • Outstanding Nebraska Entrepreneurship Service Award presented to Judy Amoo, Dean of Economic and Community Development for Western Nebraska Community College.
  • Gregg Christensen Distinguished Service Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame Award presented to Craig Schroeder, Independent Entrepreneurship Consultant and immediate past-chairman of NET

Gregg Christensen, Nebraska Department of Education Entrepreneurship and Work-Based Learning Specialist and Steve Bors, Director of the Southeast Community College Entrepreneurship Center, members of the NETForce Executive Committee co-presented the awards.


Nebraska Virtual Career Tours Videos & Guides

These virtual industry tours provide a unique opportunity for students, parents and job-seekers to experience Nebraska-based industries without leaving the home or classroom.

The videos showcase different business and industries in each of the sixteen Career Clusters in the Nebraska Model as well as entrepreneurship. In addition to the tour of the business/industry, the videos also contain interviews with employees and managers discussing work requirements, education levels, salary and job prospects.

The videos will provide an accurate picture of today’s workplace, breaking down stereotypes and assumptions while emphasizing the knowledge and skills required to be successful.

Click here for Career Tours Flyer


Each year public schools in Nebraska are shaping our next generation of exceptional young citizens.

More than 400 interviews with students, teachers, administrators and parents, thousands of hours of video footage, 70,000 images, and nearly 50 short films have been created as they have traveled the state to find out what’s happening in our public schools.

Career and Technical Education Videos

These videos include focus on innovative career and technical programs underway in Nebraska schools.  These videos can be found by clicking on the Career and Technical Education tab under the Films section.  Several of the videos focus on school-based entrepreneurship efforts.

Videos specifically featuring entrepreneurship include:


Makerspaces: A Growing Nebraska Trend


Makerspaces are do-it-yourself shops popping up all across the U.S. Innovation Studio makerspace is where people can gather to invent, learn, and create.
by Ben Bohall, Producer/Reporter, NET News

Koosha Mooghen Dastgerdi immigrated to the United States from Iran in 2014 for two reasons. The first:

“My wife. About five years ago she was coming back to visit her family in Iran. I saw her and I fell in love with her. It’s a long story,” Dastgerdi said.

The second reason was to follow a dream.

Before coming to the U.S., Koosha worked as a furniture maker in Iran. In his small shop, he would design and craft his own works and sell them to local outlets. But he often ran into problems because of his Bahá’í faith, an unpopular religious minority in Iran. He was unable to attend college and finding a landlord who would rent space to him for his business became increasingly difficult. When he came to the U.S., he knew he would essentially have to start over, and that was scary. But that’s when he heard about something called a makerspace.

“I found this place and I can make what I was making in Iran and it gives me the opportunity to make what I love,” Dastgerdi said.

Shane Farritor is director of the Nebraska Innovation Studio, a relatively new makerspace located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. A makerspace is a do-it-yourself place where people can gather to invent, learn; and in Koosha’s case create.

“He’s already made three or four sets of furniture here,” Farritor said. “He makes them totally from scratch. He brings in 2×4’s of wood and rolls of leather and does everything here. The sewing, the upholstery, all the wood-working to make the furniture.”

It’s also given Dasterdi the chance to keep pursuing a passion he has had for years.

“It’s the definition of the American dream, right? I hope he starts his own business someday, is able to move out of here and have his own business, and gets rich one day,” Farritor said.

Stories like Koosha’s have been nothing new in the space’s young existence. Membership has grown rapidly from 70 members last fall to 280 this spring. There are 12 entrepreneurs like Koosha currently using the space to create their products.  And the space is only about one-third done.

For as many aspiring entrepreneurs as you’ll find at the Innovation Studio, you’ll also find another group: students. The latest example of their work: A multi-purpose robot recently designed and created by a local high school robotics club.

“It’s all laser cut,” Farritor said. “A cell phone controls it. As you can see, they pick up the balls with this spinning, flailing thing, and then they have a catapult built in here that fires their balls. It’s really cool.”

Farritor said the space has worked to create a collaboration between aspiring entrepreneurs like Koosha and these high school students. That’s something Farritor said Nebraska could use.

“In the 90’s in the education systems, a lot of the vocational programs disappeared,” Farritor said. “I think that left a lot of kids behind. A lot of kids think mechanically and visually and are physical builders. I think that’s coming back. I think we’ve realized there’s been a mistake and it’s coming back in a different form. It’s got a techy angle to it. It’s got a kind of innovation angle to it. I think are makerspaces are going to become more important as we move forward.”

Gregg Christensen is with the Nebraska Department of Education in Entrepreneurship and Work Based Learning. He agrees with Farritor. As he will tell you, the best way to learn is hands-on, minds-on. Then you retain it. Makerspaces fit the bill.

“I do think you’re seeing that makerspaces are filling a spot that allows young people and adults to explore and work with each other,” Christensen said.

With so much focus on core academics, Christensen said electives have sometimes taken a back seat, especially in small rural Nebraska schools. He says makerspaces like the Innovation Studio have the possibility to retain young people in those areas, and even encourage business growth.

“Entrepreneurship is absolutely vital to growing the economy, especially in rural Nebraska. As our population ages, we have got to have young people starting new businesses and also going into the succession mode where they’re taking over existing businesses,” Christensen said.

This month, the Nebraska Library Commission announced it had been awarded a national grant to create temporary makerspaces in 33 rural communities’ libraries across Nebraska. Christensen says the goal is to advance economic development in those communities by working toward developing permanent makerspaces.

If that happens, they’ll largely be modeled off of the Innovation Studio here in Lincoln, with the goal of encouraging students and aspiring entrepreneurs like Koosha Mooghen Dastgerdi. Tomorrow, he’ll go to his day job as a machinist from 8-4 before returning here to begin on his next design. It’s hard work that makes for a long day, but he said he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Now I’m happy,” Dastgerdi said. “I have this opportunity to work here and make furniture again. I have my own life. I have a beautiful life. That’s my happiness here. That’s all I need.”

Lifelong Learning Model

The Consortium supports the concept that entrepreneurship is a lifelong learning process that has at least five distinct stages of development. This lifelong learning model assumes that everyone in our education system should have opportunities to learn at the beginning stages, while the later stages are targeted at those who may specifically choose to become entrepreneurs. Each of the following five stages may be taught with activities that are infused in other classes or as separate courses.

Lifelong Learning Model

Lifelong Learning Model-B&W PDF
Lifelong Learning Model-Green Background PDF
Lifelong Learning Model-White Background PDF

Stage 1 – BASICS

In primary grades, junior high and high school, students should experience various facets of business ownership. At this first stage the focus is on understanding the basics of our economy, the career opportunities that result, and the need to master basic skills to be successful in a free market economy. Motivation to learn and a sense of individual opportunity are the special outcomes at this stage of the lifelong learning model.


The students will learn to speak the language of business, and see the problems from the small business owner’s point of view. This is particularly needed in career and technical education. The emphasis is on beginning competencies that may be taught as an entire entrepreneurship class or included as part of other courses related to entrepreneurship. For example, cash flow problems could be used in a math class, and sales demonstrations could be part of a communications class.


There is so much to learn about starting and running a business it is not surprising that so many businesses have trouble. We expect future doctors to learn their profession through years of formal study, yet we have expected small business owners to learn everything by attending weekend seminars.

At this stage, students can take time to explore business ideas and a variety of ways to plan the business. Although, it is still only an educational experience, students must gain a greater depth and breadth of knowledge than they may have from previous stages. This stage encourages students to create a unique business idea and carry the decision-making process through a complete business plan. The best programs enable students to actually experience the operation of a business as well. This stage may take place in advanced high school career and technical programs, two-year colleges where there are special courses and/or associate degree programs, and some colleges and universities. The outcome is for students to learn how it might be possible to become an entrepreneur and to practice the processes of business.

Stage 4- STARTUP

After adults have had time to gain job experience and/or further their education, many are in need of special assistance to assemble a business idea. Community education programs focusing on business startup assistance are widely available in career and technical programs, community-based assistance programs, community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities. The U.S. Small Business Administration sponsors many of these training programs.

Stage 5- GROWTH

Often, business owners do not seek help until it is almost too late. A series of continuing seminars or support groups can assist the entrepreneur in recognizing potential problems and how to deal with them in a thorough and timely manner. Many community colleges and continuing education programs at universities or colleges offer such seminars and workshops for their business community. They recognize that the best economic development plan is to help the community’s existing businesses grow and prosper.

Educators at each of these stages of entrepreneurship should focus on their own special outcomes, and reach out for partnerships with educators at other levels of this lifelong learning process. There is room for entrepreneurship in some way everywhere in our educational system.

Source: Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education


The Importance of Entrepreneurship (PDF)

  • U.S. startups create 40% or new jobs annually.
  • U.S. startups add 6.5 new jobs on average per new establishment.
  • Half of all jobs are in small businesses.
Source:  Entrepreneurship & Job Creation Facts & Figures, © 2014 Gallup, Inc. 

Entrepreneurship in Nebraska

Nebraska is a diverse state, geographically, economically, and demographically. The vitality of our cities and small communities depends on the ongoing spirit of entrepreneurship and willingness to not only start new businesses, but to continue businesses as current business owners retire.

Consider the following:

  • Nebraska’s small businesses employed about half (47.5%) or 394,009 of the state’s private workforce in 2013.
  • The number of people who were primarily self-employed increased in 2014.
  • 96.6 percent of all employers in the state are considered small businesses (1-499 employees).
  • In 2012, there were an estimated 51,936 women-owned businesses and 14,561 minority owned businesses.
Source:  2017 Small Business Profiles for States and Territories

Importance of Entrepreneurship Education

We should be cultivating entrepreneurial mindsets in all students so they can act, adapt, and navigate their futures. 

  • 90% of Nebraskans agreed that “helping young people learn how to start their own business is important to Nebraska’s economic future. (2010)
Sources:  The Gallup-Hope Index, Produced by Gallup and Operation Hope; Federal Career and Technical Education Public Perceptions Study conducted by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, 2010.

Entrepreneurship is a Career Readiness Skill

  • Benchmarks include:
    • Understanding the knowledge and skills required of an entrepreneur;
    • Describing the opportunities for entrepreneurship in a given industry; and
    • Weighing the opportunities, benefits and risks of entrepreneurship versus employment in a career.
Source:  Nebraska Standards for Career Ready Practice




Entrepreneurship Education

The Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education-sponsored Think Tank recently worked on group consensus about the different outcomes for entrepreneurship programs at various levels of education. The Think Tank is a voluntary “future thinking” group composed of a wide selection of educators who are practitioners in a variety of settings, educational levels, and locations throughout the US and beyond. While the results are not based on formal scientific research, they are provided here for the purposes of discussion and orientation to the concepts underlying the National Content Standards for Entrepreneurship Education.

Benefits to Elementary Students

  • Increased attendance
  • Higher academic achievement
    • Standardized Tests
    • Pre & Post Tests
    • Portfolios
  • Fewer discipline referrals
  • Increased sense of “locus of control”
  • Awareness of career and entrepreneurial options
  • Acquire basic economic understanding
  • Acquire basic financial concepts
  • Define entrepreneurs’ contribution to society
  • Use opportunity recognition/problem solving skills
  • Explore ethics issues
  • Consider steps in business startup

Benefits to Middle School Students

  • Continue on to high school
  • Improved academic skills – 4 Rs
  • Experience entrepreneurship across the curriculum
  • Increased self-esteem and respect
  • Increased number of students identifying entrepreneurship as a career choice
  • Heightened awareness of the role of entrepreneurs
  • Encourage risk-taking & learning from failure
  • Learn to identify and recognize opportunities
  • Decrease in teen pregnancies and substance abuse
  • Improved economic literacy and understanding of capitalism
  • Improved financial literacy
  • Develop workplace literacy
  • Understand entrepreneurship process / business plan
  • Become an educated, empowered consumer
  • Learn about opportunity cost
  • Embrace diversity / socialization skills
  • Demonstrate conflict resolution / negotiation / sales-marketing / persuasion skills
  • Learn how entrepreneurs give back
  • Learn how to make money
  • Recognize the contributions of entrepreneurs (they started small)
  • Foster and value idea generation

Benefits to High School Students

  • Creation of entrepreneurial thinkers who also have the skills and tools to start their own businesses
  • Write a business plan
  • Apply economic principles
  • Determine individual entrepreneurial interests
  • Apply basic marketing skills
  • Use strategies for idea generation
  • Assess feasibility of ideas
  • Manage risk
  • Identify legitimate sources of capital
  • Evaluate ownership structures
  • Translate problems into opportunities
  • Apply principles of human relations management
  • Speak “business” & “entrepreneurship”
  • Apply basic accounting principles
  • Engage in ethical business practices
  • Demonstrate financial management

Benefits to Post-Secondary and Adult Students

  • Demonstrate skills in business startup
  • Demonstrate skills in maintaining business longevity
  • Demonstrate knowledge of business closings versus failure
  • Ability to find next level of training or access other resources and services
  • Demonstrate business management/operation skills
  • Use components of a business plan
  • Determine impact on unemployment
  • Changed attitude toward entrepreneurship as a means of making a living
  • Changes in personal and career attitudes including
    • Self-worth
    • Ability to control one’s own life
    • Self awareness
    • Self management/personality responsibility
    • Transfer of learning
    • Motivation
    • Teamwork
    • Interpersonal communications
    • Problem solving
    • Creativity

As can be seen, Entrepreneurship education can positively impact a learner at all levels in a wide number of contexts. This may explain why there are such a wide variety of entrepreneurship education programs, all of which can provide important outcomes at various stages of a learner’s life. As supporters of entrepreneurship education the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education applauds the great diversity of programs that fall under the framework of the National Standards for Entrepreneurship Education.

Source: Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education

Nurturing Entrepreneurship

Nurturing Entrepreneurial Spirit

As we move forward into the 21st Century it is important to reflect on the great contributions that entrepreneurs have made to the wellbeing of our people and the wealth of our economy. Where would we be without the persistence and creativity of such notable entrepreneurs as Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Joe Dudley?

For over three decades the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (the Consortium) has provided leadership to those who teach our youth and adults about their country, their career opportunities, and the skills needed to be successful. Educators have created a wide variety of programs and activities to provide students with the experiences that nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship everywhere.

“Entrepreneurs are not ‘born’….rather they ‘become’ through the experiences of their lives.” — Professor Albert Shapiro, Ohio State University

The Consortium has seen our special role in sharing interesting entrepreneur-building activities and innovative programs from elementary schools through secondary and post-secondary education. Through our national conference, our newsletter, and our website, we have encouraged the replication of these innovative educational ideas. We have supported our members – leaders in the field at local, state, and national levels. And we have built bridges between the Consortium and other organizations that are part of the potential delivery system that enables youth and adults to explore their entrepreneurial opportunities.

Based on the vision of our original mentor, Professor Albert Shapiro at The Ohio State University (deceased in 1985) the Consortium created the Lifelong Learning Model to demonstrate that entrepreneurship is a developmental process. We recognize the importance of nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit from early ages, and continuing it right through all educational levels. In most cases entrepreneurship is infused in classes where it provides the context for learning other basic skills and motivating students to want to learn. In the more advanced grades it also has become a separate course supporting the outcomes of the higher levels of the lifelong learning model.

Entrepreneurship education means many different things to educators – from primary schools to university, from vocational education to a university MBA. At each level of education, it is reasonable to expect different outcomes as students mature and build on previous knowledge. But the overall purpose remains to develop expertise as an entrepreneur.

Source: Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education

Program Contact

Nebraska Entrepreneurship Education

The Nebraska Department of Education provides statewide:

  • Curriculum support
  • Technical assistance
  • Professional development

Entrepreneurship education outreach and services provided through Nebraska Career Education include:

  • Nebraska Entrepreneurship Education website
  • Nebraska Entrepreneurship Education listserv
  • Nebraska Career Education Conference sessions
  • Publicity for local, state, and national activities
  • Support and leadership for Nebraska’s National Entrepreneurship Week activities

Program Contact


 Gregg Christensen
Entrepreneurship and Workplace Experiences Specialist
301 Centennial Mall South, PO Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509-4987
Twitter:  @NDE_EntreED