new report by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Bureau of Business Research shows a strong return on investment from the State’s Business Innovation Act (BIA) programs.

The report analyzed the overall economic impact BIA programs have had by spurring the growth of Nebraska startups. BIA funds have generated $10.68 of capital investment for every $1 awarded. Businesses participating in BIA programs have earned $12.23 of revenue per dollar of State investment. According to the UNL report, “these ratios are considerably larger than reported in earlier studies [2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020] and represent the ability of Nebraska businesses to leverage BIA funding and generate revenue.”

“Nebraska’s startup scene is as strong as ever, thanks in large part to the Business Innovation Act,” said Joe Fox, Director of Business Development for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). “BIA programs have sparked investment in innovative Nebraska companies, providing key funding to support entrepreneurship. BIA programs are a valuable tool for the State to invest in high-potential, high-tech small businesses at every stage of growth—from seed funding to prototype development to product commercialization.”

The Business Innovation Act (2011) authorized a suite of grant and investment programs for Nebraska-based startups and small businesses. These programs are administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. BIA programs assist with product development (Prototype), university research or university tech transfer (Academic R&D), businesses leveraging the federal Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer programs (SBIR/STTR match), and access to capital via equity investment (Seed Investment). Descriptions, guidelines, and application links for the BIA programs are available on the DED website at []

Every other year, DED sends a survey to businesses participating in the Business Innovation Act programs. The agency contracted with the UNL Bureau of Business Research to compile survey data and analyze the effectiveness of BIA programs. Per the recent UNL report, businesses taking part in the State’s BIA programs have added 1,604 jobs and created more than $104.7 million in annual wages since the inception of BIA programs. In 2022, BIA-supported businesses had a combined economic impact of $752.3 million, resulting in $16.3 million of state and local tax receipts.

In 2021, Nebraska companies raised a record-high $334.6 million in venture capital—more than doubling the previous annual high of $158.2 million set in 2015. Nebraska has moved from a rank of 44th in the nation in venture capital deals in 2011 to 33rd in 2021.

The full report—2022 Update: The Annual Economic Impact of Businesses Supported by Nebraska Business Innovation Act Programs—is available at

For questions related to the State of Nebraska’s BIA programs, please email DED Director of Business Development Joe Fox at or DED Business Innovation Manager Ben Kuspa at