Nebraska Lawmakers Seek to Expand Startup Program in the State

Paul Hammel reported yesterday at the Omaha World-Herald Online that, “Evan Luxon says his small but growing startup company would still be in San Francisco rather than Omaha but for an innovative eight-year-old state program that helps entrepreneurs.

“The Nebraska Business Innovation Act, Luxon said, helped persuade him that he could relocate to his hometown and still attract the investment and skilled workers he could easily find in the Silicon Valley area to take his medical equipment firm beyond the idea stage.

Grants from the program, he said, helped leverage private funds and federal grants that led to production of a prototype of a ‘digital drain,’ which automatically clears chest tube blockages following heart surgeries. The invention now has FDA approval and is in clinical trials, and the firm he co-founded, Centese, has 6.5 employees in Omaha.”

Mr. Hammel noted that, “On Wednesday, Luxon was among a handful of successful entrepreneurs who testified in support of a bill in the Legislature that would increase funding in the Business Innovation Act by $4 million, to nearly $10 million a year.

Backers of Legislative Bill 334 said the extra state funding would encourage more startups in Nebraska.”

The World-Herald article added that, “When the act was passed, Nebraska ranked 49th in the nation in access to venture capital. Now, the state has risen to 31st.

“The Innovation Act provides matching seed money for companies, as well as funds for production of product prototypes, research and microenterprises.”

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