Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Lincoln, NE


Nicknamed the “Cornhusker State,” Lincoln is Nebraska’s state capital and second most populous city. Here are the investors, accelerators, maker spaces and more that make its entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Lincoln, NE is the state’s capital and second-most populous city, and the 71st-largest in the United States. Recently, Chicago-based venture firm M25 Group ranked Lincoln as the 18th-best city in the Midwest for startups. On a more national scale, the city finished 82nd in WalletHub’s 2018 rankings of the best large cities to start a business, finishing 14th overall in the “access to resources” category. WalletHub also listed Lincoln 78th on their 2018 list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that mmakeupLincoln’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Lincoln is home to one of many branches of 1 Million Cups, which holds weekly meetings at which entrepreneurs present their startups and receive feedback.

The Lincoln Small Business group holds weekly meetings in which entrepreneurs and small business can meet and network with one another.

Located down the road in Omaha, WITH is a networking group for women in technology to meet one another and learn from each other.

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

The Institute for Career Advancement Needs hosts an annual Women’s Leadership Conference, which celebrates influential women business leaders, in Omaha.

The Inside/Outside Innovation Summit, which began in 2017, is an annual two-day conference focusing on entrepreneurship and bringing startups together with investors.

The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce holds a number of events aimed at informing and supporting small business and entrepreneurship, including conferences, networking, and more.

One of Techstars’ weeklong conferences celebrating entrepreneurship, known as Startup Week, is hosted annually in Lincoln.


Startup Competitions:

The Inside/Outside Innovation Summit conference includes a pitch competition and a grant competition to help startups and entrepreneurs find funding.

Students at Nebraska Wesleyan University can enter the Quick Pitch competition, held during the annual Business Summit.

Students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln can compete against one another for the chance to win over $75,000 of total prize money.

Students down the road from Lincoln at the University of Nebraska-Omaha can compete in the annual Maverick Business Plan Competition, which awards $3,000 to the first place winner.


Co-working Spaces:

Formerly known as The Nonprofit Hub, The Foundry provides office space and other workspace options to socially-minded non-profits.

The largest shared workspace in Lincoln, FUSE Coworking offers several membership plans and access to a variety of services and amenities.

Turbine Flats aims to create a space in which startups and small businesses can work and collaborate if necessary to bring their products and ideas to market.


Maker spaces:

The Bennett Martin Public Library in downtown Lincoln includes a small maker space that hosts monthly educational programs on the available equipment.

MakeShift is a maker space that aims to create an affordable place for members of the Lincoln community to have access to tools and equipment to complete their projects.

Organized and hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The Nebraska Innovation Studio is open to anyone in the Lincoln community, not just those with ties to the university.



Located in Lincoln’s Nebraska Innovation Campus, the BioTech Connecter provides wet lab space and incubator services bioscience startups and businesses.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Food Processing Center includes a number of resources to help grow food startups and businesses, including the National Food Entrepreneur Program.

Headquartered at the University of Nebraska-Omaha but with locations in Lincoln, the Nebraska Business Development Center provides a variety of support to small businesses.

NUtech Ventures aims to support and promote technology commercialization and use of innovations created through research and the University of Nebraska.



Econic runs a pair of accelerator programs along with providing other resources to help support innovative new technology startups.

Located in Omaha, the Innovation Accelerator has three distinct programs to support a wide variety of innovative startups and small businesses.

NMotion runs a 90-day accelerator program that provides startups with $20,000 in capital and the resources and connections they need to grow.

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Despite not having an entire major or minor program in entrepreneurship, Nebraska Wesleyan does offer some classes on the subject as well as hosts entrepreneurship-related events.

The Entrepreneurship Center at Southeast Community College provides a number of resources to support student entrepreneurship.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides a wide variety of entrepreneurial resources both inside and outside the classroom to its students.

The University of Nebraska’s Omaha location is also home to a number of resources designed to support entrepreneurship from students and the community as a whole.


Angel Groups/VCs:

With three locations around the Midwest, Dundee Venture Capital invests in seed-stage technology startups from around the region.

In addition to private equity and consulting services, Everest Group provides venture capital to information technology and database technology startups.

With the ultimate goal of growing Nebraska’s economy, Invest Nebraska operates two funds, one for traditional businesses and one for high growth companies.

This is a collection of angel investors in the Lincoln and Omaha areas that work with a wide variety of startups led by experienced teams.

This investment group focuses on promising software companies, with the goal of creating an influential technology environment in the state.

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Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Located in Lincoln and aimed at supporting entrepreneurship in rural communities, the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship offers a monthly newsletter covering news and events.

GROW Nebraska, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and growing business and entrepreneurship around the state offers an e-newsletter.

Silicon Prairie News, which covers technology and innovation in the “Silicon Prairie” region of Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, offers a daily e-mail newsletter.

While not exactly a newsletter, Strictly Business Magazine is a monthly magazine covering business news in Lincoln, with an Omaha edition also available.


Are you familiar with an entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Lincoln not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

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Sandra Sloan

Sandra has previous supply chain and business operations experience which she is leveraging as an author with FundingSage focused on spotlighting entrepreneurs and their startup efforts.