Nebraska Small Business Grant and Additional Financial Resources
Aside from the above organizations and companies, Nebraskans can also turn to their state government for possible small business aid. Depending on what your company does or plans to do, you may be able to apply for one of the following:
The Nebraska Academic Research and Development Grant program offers local businesses a matching grant for research and development activities performed in collaboration with a Nebraska university or college.
Any for-profit business that operates in Nebraska is welcome to apply; eligible matching funds include any non-state source like local or federal governments, private foundations, investors, commercial lending institutions, and more.
The NIF Prototype Grant presents a matching program that offers financial support for new product development for Nebraska-based businesses. While the Prototype Grant is highly competitive, the Department of Economic Development can help applicants better understand the requirements and submit the strongest application possible.
The grant amount can reach up to $150,000 per project, which must be used towards the development of a specific product. Eligible costs include prototype materials, employee wages, and limited tooling and equipment costs.
The Nebraska Seed Investment Program offers up to $500,000 to early-stage businesses to be used in product and service development. These awards take the form of matching equity investments. These investments are held by the nonprofit 501(c)3 partner of the Department of Economic Development, Invest Nebraska.
The investments can reach up to $500,000 per project and must be used for the commercialization of a process or prototype. Applicants must operate a business in Nebraska and be able to provide matching funds equal to 100% of the investment amount.
The Nebraska SBIR/STTR Grant initiative is a matching grant intended to support Nebraska small businesses that have received a Federal STTR or SBIR grant. The grant can reach $4 million per year, depending on the demand and current DED’s budget and available funds.
In order to apply for the Nebraska SBIR/STTR Grant, you must meet the qualification requirements associated with the federal SBIR/STTR program. In addition, you must run a for-profit small business that conducts at least 51% of its activities in the state of Nebraska.
Other Resources for Nebraska Small Businesses
Without a doubt, obtaining business financing is important. However, if you aren’t familiar with running a business, receiving a Nebraska small business loan won’t help you succeed. Luckily, financial aid isn’t the only resource available to small businesses in Nebraska.
If you do even a little bit of extra digging, you’ll soon find that many organizations are set up to help small businesses have ties with the SBA. Nebraska’s SCORE is one such organization, albeit one working at a state level. The organization has seven branches across the Nebraska state, all of which offer the following services:
- Business advice. The organization offers free, professional, and confidential business advice no matter what level you are at. This advice comes from specialist advisors, who also double as mentors, and is available in-person and online.
- Business workshops. SCORE also provides low (or no) cost workshops on various business topics, such as marketing, accounting, and more.
- Business tools. You can also access a massive library of online business resources for free, including guides and templates.
- Volunteer program. Whether you need help with your business or want to get an idea of what running one is like, SCORE has a volunteer program. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or looking for sound advice from someone who knows what it’s like to run a small business, there are plenty of people available to help you out at no cost.
How to Prepare for a Nebraska Small Business Loan
Whether your business has been on the go for a while or you’re just starting up, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Aside from making use of free services like SCORE, it’s vital you do the following before you apply for a loan:
- Have a business plan. Most lenders require a traditional, in-depth plan, but some may be happy with a Lean Startup Plan (key points only).
- Research which grants are suitable for your particular business needs.
- Ensure you have all the relevant documents in order before applying for a loan. If you forget something or complete a form incorrectly, this will reflect badly on your organizational skills and delay the loan process.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re unsure about how to word a grant application, or even if you fully meet the requirements, SCORE and the SBA both have plenty of free resources online
- Be prepared to face rejection. You may not want to hear it, but there’s always a chance a funding body declines your application. If this happens, don’t panic. Always have at least a second option in mind in case you need to try a different lender.
The Bottom Line
If you are running a small business in the state of Nebraska, you have plenty of small business loan options available at your disposal. From conventional banks to online lenders, to state-run grant programs, you can find the perfect financial support to meet your business needs.