Launch! a School-Based Enterprise

           that propels students' futures!

The Nebraska Launch! Program

The Nebraska Launch! Program will operate as a pilot project in 2018.


Nebraska Agricultural Education, the Nebraska FFA Foundation and UNL's Engler Entrepreneurship Program are excited to bring the Nebraska Launch! Program to Nebraska Agricultural Education Programs. The Nebraska Launch! Program will serve as a powerful catalyst in entrepreneurship-based education for our Agriculture Students.


This year-long program is designed to jumpstart School-Based Enterprises in Nebraska Agriculture Education Programs. A School-Based Enterprise is a valuable opportunity to create a new source of income for the program, provide hands-on agribusiness experience to students, and generate support and involvement in a local community. 


What is a School-Based Enterprise?

A School-Based Enterprise is a real business planned, operated, and managed by students with direction from the Agriculture Teacher. There are a few different models that a School-Based Enterprise can follow which determine the level of student/school/chapter ownership, amount of committed class time, and level of community involvement.


School-Based Enterprises are:

    •  A real world experience for students.
    • A hands-on entrepreneurship / Agribusiness experience.
    • A powerful community support builder.
    • An SAE opportunity for students.
    • An income generating asset for an Agriculture Program or FFA Chapter.
    • Lots of hard work.
    • A valuable experience for both Students and Teachers.


School-Based Enterprises are not:

    • A fruit-sales fundraiser.
    • Solely the Job of the Ag Educator/Advisor.
    • 100% risk free.
    • Something only for small or large chapters.


SAE Benefit

A School-Based Enterprise also provides an additional option of serving as a Supervised Agricultural Experience for students. It's especially useful to students who do not have immediate access to agriculture opportunities in their community. A School-Based Enterprise is primarily led and ran by students, and provides a unique learning experience at many levels. Often, there are a number of roles students play, from an executive-level manager to an hourly worker. This is real-world experience and a high level of responsibility for students.



Curriculum and training for the Launch! Program is provided by the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program. The Engler Program is an innovative entrepreneurship program for collegiate students at the University of Nebraska. Engler brings proven training and entrepreneurship education to the Launch! Program.

Program Details

Participating programs will receive in-person training focused on planning, launching, and running School-Based Enterprises within their Agriculture Programs/FFA Chapters. This program also provides a guaranteed planning grant of $1,000 to participating programs, as well as the opportunity to compete for additional funding in a pitch competition. This funding is used to assist in launching and running the School-Based Enterprise. Participating programs will send a teacher and team of 4-6 students to the in-person training to make plans and execute the business. The teacher will select specific students who will serve as leaders of the School-Based Enterprise and participate in the Nebraska Launch! Program events.


Training topics include:

    • Business ideation
    • Testing and validating businesses
    • Business model planning
    • Business financials
    • Creating a student management team
    • Building a business advisor team
    • Learning to pitch a business
    • Business planning and turnover
    • How to navigate a school board


Program Overview & Timeline

This training occurs at five training sessions held across the state (alongside other FFA events) and seven monthly Zoom calls (during the school year) with a Engler mentor.


Kickoff Event

Location: Younes Conference Center, Kearney (Alongside 212/360 Conferences)

Time: March 16th - 17th, 2018

This two-day event is the jumpstart to the program. Accepted Agriculture Programs will learn the basics of launching a School-Based Enterprise, explore business models, identify community needs, test business ideas, and walk away with an action plan to begin implementing.


June Quick Pitch Competition

Location: Kearney (Alongside NCE Conference)

Time: June 6th, 2018

Students from participating Agriculture Programs will compete for seed-grant funding in a quick-pitch style competition. Students will be given five minutes to pitch the business model and implementation plans for their School-Based Enterprise to a panel of business and entrepreneurship judges. Agriculture Programs will then gather to share best practices and further training.  An additional $5,000 in funding is available at this event.


November Booster

Location: State Fair Grounds (Alongside P2C Conference)

Time: Morning of Saturday, November 3, 2018

At this short event Agriculture Programs will share progress, problem solve, and make plans for the remainder of the year. Students and teachers will also consider and craft transition plans for a new group of students to lead the enterprises.


February Wrap Up

Location: Kearney (Alongside 212/360)

Time: TBD, During 212/360 Conference in March 2019

At this final event, Programs will provide updates and reflect on the progress of their enterprise this past year. They will have the opportunity to interact with the new cohort of programs just beginning the Launch! program. Programs will also learn the foundations of constructing a business pitch, and prepare for the Final Pitch Competition held at the State FFA Convention.


Convention Pitch Presentation

Location: Lincoln (During State Convention)

Time: TBD, During the 2019 Nebraska FFA Convention

Student teams will give a final pitch presentation to other FFA members to help encourage them to consider starting a School-Based Enterprise or other entrepreneurship-based SAEs during a convention workshop. Competitive awards will be provided to recognize participating students and programs in the Launch! Program. This is the conclusion of the program.


We believe that a School-Based Business not only will provide a valuable learning experience for your students, but also build unique support for your agriculture program, school, and local community. Additionally, we believe that this will provide an innovative professional development opportunity for teachers across the state. If you want to set yourself and your chapter apart, the Nebraska Launch! Program is a great fit for you.


Please contact Matt Kreifels,, with questions about the pilot project this year.

Click to Apply by February 15!