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Nebraska Innovation Fund Prototype Grants

The Nebraska Innovation Fund (NIF) Prototyping Grant is a competitive matching grant that provides financial assistance for product development to businesses operating in Nebraska.

The Nebraska Innovation Fund (NIF) Prototype Grant is a matching grant that provides financial assistance for product development to businesses operating in Nebraska.

This program is very competitive. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Department of Economic Development (DED) for help understanding the program’s requirements and expectations. DED will guide you to resources for making your grant more competitive.

About Prototype Grants

  • Prototype grants can be up to $150,000 per project for development.
  • Applicants must be businesses operating in Nebraska that can provide a minimum of 50% (2:1) of the grant request as matching funds. Value-added agriculture projects require a match of 25% (4:1).
  • Grant funds are accessed via reimbursement. DED reimburses project costs at a rate of 66% or 80% for value-added agriculture projects.
  • To apply, applicants must submit an application form and provide a business plan and evidence of matching funds.
  • If approved, the project must be completed and all funds must be drawn down within 24 months.

Eligible Businesses
Any Nebraska-based corporation, limited liability company, partnership, registered limited partnership, sole proprietorship, business trust, or other entity with fewer than 500 employees engaged in non-retail primary industries adding value to products or processes in Nebraska.

Eligible Use of Funds
Prototype grant funds must be used towards the development of a product. Examples of eligible costs are wages for employees or contractors, prototype materials, and limited preapproved tooling or equipment costs. Applicants must provide a budget at the time of application that will outline the anticipated project costs.

Eligible Matching Funds
Includes any non-state source—private foundations, federal or local governments, quasi-governmental entities, commercial lending institutions, investors, etc.—provided they are not using funds appropriated by the Nebraska Legislature. Matching funds must be in the form of a cash match.

Important Deadlines:
Applications for this grant are accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. Contact DED to determine the availability of funds.