Look What’s Growing in Nebraska « Back to Search Results
In September 2015, Bloomberg included Lincoln – Nebraska’s capital city – in its coverage of “Silicon Prairie” metros – Midwest and other cities enjoying investment from funders of start-ups and a second look from entrepreneurs seeking lower-cost alternatives to technology centers on the East and West Coasts and elsewhere. On September 30th, Silicon Prairie News went a step further, publishing a list of “seven reasons you should pay attention to Lincoln.” Silicon Prairie News is a publication of AIM, “a not-for-profit community organization that promotes technology to empower people, enhance organizations and create brilliant communities.” Omaha, Lincoln, Scottsbluff and Central Nebraska are among AIM’s areas of expertise.
The seven reasons are these:
• Affordability: “More money goes to growth instead of operations,” and it’s “cheaper to fail.”
• Location: “[Being] nestled between Omaha and Kansas City allows Lincoln to tap into nearby talent and experience pools.”
• Density: “Close proximity of talent, companies and investment which can lead to chance encounters and collaborations that nobody could’ve predicted.”
• The University of Nebraska: “Unlike Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, there’s only one state university system in Nebraska, which means that most of the state’s homegrown talent is funneled toward Lincoln.”
• Young Talent: “The Lincoln startup community has a lock on great talent coming out of UNL…Talent that stays moves from one startup to the next, only deepening the available expertise.”
• A Supportive Chamber: “For a city dominated by institutions (the University and the Legislature), the energy and growth of Lincoln feels more authentic and less top-down than other places.”
• More on the Way: “We haven’t seen Lincoln max out its potential for tech innovation.”
On the state level, Nebraska is cultivating an ecosystem for entrepreneurs that includes Invest Nebraska Corporation and Nebraska Angels, both of which seek to match start-ups with the funding and business development resources they require. Invest Nebraska is helping the Department of Economic Development implement the Business Innovation Act, passed in 2011. It administers a prototype grant program (up to $50,000), an SBIR matching grant program (up to $100,000), a two-phase research and development grant program and a seed commercialization program (matching, up to $500,000).