Tom Peters, a leading business strategist and thought leader, recently wrote that “the, in retrospect, brief – age of big company dependency is quickly coming to a close. Is education ready to prepare the alternative – the empowered individual?” We are on a quest to answer that question with a resounding ‘yes’!
EMPOWER ENTERPRISE BUILDERS! These three words drive our program. We believe that free enterprise is the engine that drives liberty, the fuel that grows communities, and the canvas that allows entrepreneurs to innovate, create solutions, and to express the fire in their bellies in meaningful ways. At the core of our work is developing talented people who possess the builder’s mindset, who embrace the challenge of becoming employers, and who see opportunities where others only see roadblocks.
Since our launch in 2010 we have built a program on a foundation of six pillars: aspiration, passion, courage, grit, partner and build. Entrepreneurship is messy, gritty and risk-filled work that simply will not conform to the ‘normal’ educational approach. As such, we have endeavored to create an experience based approach that immerses students in entrepreneurship from day one. Our action plan leverages our mission and culture to invigorate personal excellence, attract talent, cultivate impactful relationships and equip entrepreneurs for success.
We have designed the Engler Experience based on the belief that young people are capable of excellence. We approach their journey through our program with the knowledge that while their undergraduate career is an important foundation, we are committed to their lifelong development as entrepreneurs. It has been rewarding to witness the engagement of our alumni and to experience the power of the mentorship that occurs when our graduates invest their time and talent in the newest generation of Engler Entrepreneurs.
We have been fortunate indeed to have Dave Lambe, Michelle Bassford and now Brennan Costello on our staff. These remarkable individuals have worked tirelessly in pursuit of our mission, they drive us to higher performance and they have never stopped applying the power of entrepreneurship to the wonderful work of building the Engler community. Also, special thanks to Engler intern Kate Likens who assisted us greatly during the 2015-16 school year.
Our annual report provides a look at the metrics, benchmarks and scope of our program. But there is something much deeper that drives our success. We experience that power when we see Engler Entrepreneurs at work in a community garden in Amarillo, as they sweat over the details of launching a new venture, as they create lasting friendships, as they live out the values of our culture, and as we see them refuse to accept mediocrity, and embrace the challenge of moving ideas, solutions and companies forward. On the engler.unl.edu home page you will find links to several new videos that tell the story of our community, we hope they will help you to feel connected to these extraordinary people.