Sophomore students build on entrepreneurial skills at UNL event

Claire Sobansky and Miles Springer, both sophomores at Pius X High School, showcased their budding entrepreneurial skills this summer.  The two were among 22 high school students out of 3,200 applicants chosen for a Future Builders program hosted by the College of Business at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. They answered questions about their experiences and how it will impact them going forward.

What about this event captured your interest? 

Miles: I was chosen to participate in this internship based on my scores from taking the Gallup Builder Profile 10 assessment. In the assessment, I showed the aptitude to become an entrepreneur, innovator and builder. The select group of 22 out of 3,200 students were invited to participate in the intensive month-long Future Builders program. The internship met daily at the Nebraska College of Business from 9-4.

Claire: The great opportunity that I had to better my community and build my entrepreneurial skills 

Miles: Each day we had projects to work on, we met with local entrepreneurs and business leaders to help develop our strengths, entrepreneurial skills, leadership and dedication of build a successful team and profitable t-shirt business. I liked how the program gave me connections with local entrepreneurs and showed me great places to work in the future.

Sophomore students build on entrepreneurial skills at UNL event
Sophomore Claire Sobansky, Fr. James Meysenburg and sophomore Miles Springer

Describe your project for this event, how the idea developed, and what comes next? 

Claire: The project we had was to create our own t-shirt company. We first came up with four designs that related to important ideas we wanted to address and bring awareness to. After that, we had an incredible opportunity to meet with a graphic designer from a motion studio startup here in Lincoln. We finalized our designs and had to pitch them to the head of the Clifton Strengths Institute for a $5,000 loan to produce the shirts. We got the loan and started printing our shirts with a local screen printing company. The very next week, our 532 shirts came in.  We were so excited that we broke even with our loan in four business days. We had our big launch event a week after our shirts came in. There were a lot of important people there, like the mayor of Lincoln and the dean of the university. We had lots of speakers and some of us even modeled the shirts. After all the speakers and modeling, we talked with people and sold our shirts.  

Miles: 22 of us started our own T-shirt business in less than a month. We sold shirts at pop-ups down town and in the hay market, Jazz in June, and at our launch event in the College of Business. We sold over 80% of our 532 shirts and made over $8,000 in four business days. We took out a loan of $5,000. We gave 10% of our profit Back to the program, then we separated the rest among ourselves.  

Claire: By the end of the night, we had sold out of on design and the adult sizes in another! We are the most successful cohort yet, doing better than Mexico City, Washington DC, and Omaha. I think it really shows how strong Lincoln’s community is and how we all support each other. Now, anyone from the internship who wants to keep selling the shirts can use the designs and sell them on their own, but it’s all our choice.

What did you learn through this event that will help you with school or other projects in the future? 

Miles: I learned that if you work in areas of your strength you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life. I realized I have leadership skills and great interpersonal skills. I was described by my Gallup mentors as someone who brings order in times of chaos, that I am highly organized and this helped me how build me confidence as my drive for success motivates those around me. Knowing your strengths is an asset to any group situation. The skills I learned will help me be a more involved student at Pius and help me plan for my future.  

Claire: I learned a lot about my skills and talents and how I can utilize them. I also learned that other people’s strengths may be my weaknesses and that’s ok. I learned a lot about a team effort. I definitely plan to use what I learned in group projects, and when I someday hope to go to business school. 

Miles: We met with CEOs of Gallup and The Clifton Strengths Institute. Our group toured Hudl, Fuse (Where Hudl was started), Spreetail, and Ink Alley.  

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