Nebraska’s Business Innovation Act program sees success for local startups

Startups are seeing success after receiving support from the state
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 5:23 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Four years ago, Kelly Mann took a leap starting her own company. The Business Innovation Act made that leap a little less risky.

“I probably never would have started AuditMiner, because I would have used my own funds, potentially mortgage my house, liquidate some 401k of my own in order to put money into there. And that’s just not the risk I’m willing to take as a mother of three,” said Kelly Mann, co-founder of AuditMiner and recipient of grant money from the state.

Jason Bogner is the co-founder and now chief technology officer.

“We started with just Kelly and me and hired development outsourced for that initially. Because we didn’t feel comfortable hiring full-time employees, so with the grant, it allowed us the flexibility to hire internal people,” said Bogner.

Now, AuditMiner, based in downtown Omaha has 13 employees. They help companies audit their 401ks. Mann used to be an auditor herself and saw an opportunity to automate the paperwork process.

With the help of an initial $150,000 grant from the state, they created a prototype and turned it into a successful business.

A new report by UNL shows the state is receiving a huge return on investment from the Business Innovation Act. For every $1 the state puts in, companies see an average of more than $12 in revenue.

“A lot of those businesses that we funded early on in that 2012-2015 space, they’re growing by leaps and bounds. And they are adding dozens or hundreds of people in some cases through their staff,” said Ben Kuspa who oversees the BIA program for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

The state’s project manager told 6 News there’s a particular focus on technology product development in Nebraska, with software companies receiving most of the funding followed by those in the bioscience industry.

According to UNL’s report, the program helped create more than 1,600 jobs since it started and brought in more than $16 million of state and local tax revenue last year alone.

“We’re all competing for the same talent. So that grant, allowed us to have the funds to then hire some of the top talent,” said Bogner.

AuditMiner is ready to stand entirely on its own two feet. With the help of grant money from the state, they no longer need another round of funding.

Applications for the BIA program can be found here.