Small and early-stage businesses that received assistance under the Nebraska Business Innovation Act (BIA) grant program in 2016-2017 saw an average $4.46 return for every dollar in state funding received, a new study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Bureau of Business Research finds.

The study was conducted on behalf of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) — which administers the BIA program for the State of Nebraska — and Invest Nebraska, a nonprofit investment corporation that provides financial and technical support for small and early-stage companies.

The BIA was passed by the State Legislature and signed by the governor in 2011 as part of the Nebraska Talent and Innovation Initiative. It is designed to promote entrepreneurship and support the growth of Nebraska businesses and industries, by helping firms gain access to capital during the early stages of their development.

Five subprograms authorized under the BIA are available for grant seekers. These can help early stage companies become investor-ready; commercialize their new products and/or services; compete for federal grants; or develop prototypes of their new ideas — among other forms of assistance.

“The BIA gives our agency a tremendous set of tools to help small businesses succeed from the ground up,” said Nisha Avey, Business Innovation Consultant for DED. “We greatly encourage Nebraska business owners to contact us or visit our agency website to see what the program can do for them.”

Impacts of the BIA program have been positive on multiple levels, the study finds. After receiving around $22.5 million in total assistance under the BIA grant program during the study period, businesses went on to raise about $100.3 million in capital — a nearly four-and-a-half to one leverage ratio — while generating nearly $100.6 million in revenue.

Meanwhile, by providing resources for growing companies, the BIA had a positive impact on the Nebraska economy. Business participating in the study created 630 new jobs with annual wages totaling $32.6 million, while generating a nearly $328.4 million statewide economic impact.

“Providing support for small and early stage businesses is a key part of our mission, and one of the most effective ways to promote economic opportunity throughout our communities,” said DED Director Dave Rippe. “This program is producing tremendous results for our state, while helping Nebraska business owners achieve their goals for success.”

For more information about the BIA, or to apply, visit the DED website at and navigate to one of the BIA subprograms listed below; or, contact Nisha Avey at or 402-471-1466; or, visit the Invest Nebraska Corporation website at

Business Innovation Act Subprograms:

-The Microenterprise Loan and Technical Assistance Program

-The Nebraska Seed Investment (Commercialization) Program

-The Nebraska Academic Research and Development Grant

-The Nebraska Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Grant Program

-The Nebraska Innovation Fund Prototype Grant Program

The original study can be found at: