Lincoln is fiercely proud and supportive of its startup community and the ways in which it has grown into a vital part of the city’s identity and growth. How does the city help make things happen and keep this momentum going? One word: collaboration. Partnerships between the city, the local economic development organization, the university, the business community, and others continue to work together to maintain and grow the infrastructure that will help startups move forward faster. From becoming a 1-GIG city to continuing to foster the density that makes the Lincoln Haymarket the place for collisions and big ideas, Lincoln continues to encourage and celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship. This community-wide support has reaped some serious rewards:
So how does the community directly help entrepreneurs? By providing programs and support for entrepreneurs at every stage.
· A Founder’s Fund is available through the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Lincoln Partnership for Economic that helps entrepreneurs move their business forward faster by helping them pay for things like attending trade shows, traveling to meet with an investor or potential customers, purchasing data, etc. Small amounts of money can have a big impact on a company’s ability to grow. The target of these funds includes entrepreneurs in the testing/accelerating/growth stages.
· The JumpStart Challenge is an annual event organized by the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and the NMotion accelerator. The challenge is structured as a reverse pitch and is intended to match startups with corporations to drive innovation, disrupt industries, and create companies. This is also primarily focused on early stage entrepreneurs.
· Most recently, the NMotion accelerator and the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development came together to start offering programs that help startups at every stage. Programming under the NMotion banner includes NMotion PreLaunch, which helps companies validate their idea and get them ready for the 90 day accelerator, MVP In A Day workshops for the testing stage, and the creation of Founder’s Only events that focus on the needs of later stage/growth entrepreneurs.
Lincoln has some serious startup momentum. The community’s support for innovation and entrepreneurship combined with Lincoln’s entrepreneurial talent will continue to cultivate the ecosystem. Check out StartupLNK, the local community website, to get plugged in.
Christina Oldfather, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and Community Builder at the NMotion Accelerator. Christina is a supporter, organizer, speaker, connector, and mentor for #StartupLNK website and newsletter, Startup Week, JumpStart Challenge, 1 Million Cups LNK, Ladies Launch Lincoln, Women+ Startup Nebraska, the Ag/Food Tech meetup, Hour of Code, the Women in Business Conference, and much more. Christina also developed the Founder’s Fund, which helps founders with acceleration/growth stage activities and is currently working to develop an expanded NMotion mentor program and programs for growth stage founder support.