Applications open for small business, research funding opportunities


LINCOLN, Nebraska (June 9, 2021)—Applications for Nebraska’s Business Innovation Act programs are now open.

Administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the Business Innovation Act offers several programs aimed toward helping small businesses, startup companies and entrepreneurs. The funding programs include prototype grants, research and development grants, SBIR/STTR grants, and seed investment opportunities.

There is no specific deadline for any program application, however applications will be accepted until all funding is exhausted. Program administrators will review applications about every two weeks. Several “how-to” guides on the website address most questions about the programs and the application process. The how-to guides can be found at:

Prototype Grant

Nebraska’s prototype grant program is a matching grant meant to offset some costs related to product development. Applications must include a business plan, evidence of matching funds, and any other relevant information. The award cap is $150,000, but most funded applications are in the $50,000 range.

Academic R&D Grant

Nebraska’s Academic R&D grant program helps businesses that financially support research and development at a Nebraska university or college, or businesses that have licensed intellectual property created at a Nebraska college or university. The funding is intended to support the additional research and development necessary to successfully commercialize innovations and new technologies. Application must include a budget, scope of work, description of the business, and a draft agreement with the participating college or university. The award cap is $100,000 for Phase I projects and $400,000 for Phase II projects.

Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer Grants

Nebraska’s SBIR/STTR program is a matching grant that provides financial assistance to Nebraska businesses that are applying for (Phase 0) or have received a Federal SBIR or STTR grant (Phase I or Phase II). The Phase 0 program helps with costs to respond to a federal solicitation and does not require a match. The Phase I and Phase II programs can match a federal SBIR/STTR grant at 65 percent of the federal award, up to $100,000.

Seed Investment

Nebraska’s seed investment program allows the state to invest up to $500,000 in a Nebraska business to help commercialize a product or process. Any state investment must be matched 100 percent with non-state money. Invest Nebraska oversees this program, conducting all due diligence, setting terms, and ultimately holding any investment made.

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