The UNeTech Institute spent time and energy focused on community-centered events in July, attending Heartland Pride, Startup Omaha Week, and the Maha Festival. Community Engagement Coordinator Jennifer Pool led the charge at all three events, creating the interactive tools to use with the events attendees and planning to focus of all events.
A number of UNMC departments took part in Heartland Pride on July 16. Each year Heartland Pride produces a series of community-based pride events to support the LGBTQ+ community, including: the Pride parade in the Old Market and Pride Festival in Omaha with a vendor and organizational fair. Staff, faculty, students and their families walked in the parade that morning, and two other departments hosted booths at the festival at CHI Health Center Omaha—the Nebraska Medicine Gender Care Clinic and UNMC & Nebraska Medicine LGBTQ+ Employee Alliance.
July 25-29 brought Startup Omaha Week to town, a week-long celebration of events focused on building a stronger and more collaborative startup ecosystem within the Greater Omaha area. UNeTech team members attended events daily, networking, learning about new local startups, and collaborated with other resource programs in town.
And finally, on July 29 and 30 our team hosted a booth in the community village at the Maha Festival, a volunteer-powered celebration of music and discovery that takes place every summer in Aksarben Village. Our booth included our interactive storytelling tool, as well as the chance for attendees to play cornhole.
UNeTech community outreach coordinator Jennifer Pool stressed that while it is possible to find Omaha’s next great inventor or entrepreneur at these events, UNeTech attends so the community understands what we do and what our role is in the community.
“Attending events like these is so important because they allow us to focus on building community, sharing resources, and creating a support network with the other organizations in Omaha,” said Pool. “It’s crucial we find ways to draw people into our booths so they want to chat with us.”
That’s what the creation of the storytelling tool was all about. The tool is designed as three large boards, connected like a trifold. It asks viewers “What’s Your Story?” They can then wrap string on pegs that encompass pieces of their entrepreneurial journey. There are no right or wrong answers, and everyone’s journey will be different.
“We know that there is no one right way to become an entrepreneur, and our storyboard proves that,” said Pool. “We are excited to bring it to more events and let Omaha entrepreneurs tell us what path they each took to entrepreneurship.”