Nebraska Business Innovation Law Program Successful for Local Startups

OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — Four years ago, Kelly Mann made a breakthrough when she founded her own company. The Business Innovation Act made this leap less risky.

“Probably I would never launch AuditMiner because I would use my own funds, potentially mortgage my house, liquidate about 401 thousand of my own to invest money there. And that’s just not a risk I’m willing to take as a mother of three,” said Kelly Mann, co-founder of AuditMiner and state grantee.

Jason Bogner is co-founder and now CTO.

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

Currently, AuditMiner, located in downtown Omaha, has 13 employees. They help companies validate their 401k. Mann herself was once an auditor 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 UNL report shows the state is seeing a huge return on investment under the Business Innovation Act. For every dollar invested by the government, companies earn an average of more than $12 in revenue.

“Many of the businesses we funded early on in 2012-2015 are growing like crazy. And in some cases, they add tens or hundreds of people through their employees,” said Ben Kuspa, who oversees the BIA program for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

The state’s project manager told 6 News that Nebraska’s focus is on technology product development, with software companies receiving most of the funding, followed by life sciences companies.

The program has helped create more than 1,600 jobs since its launch and generated more than $16 million in state and local tax revenue last year alone, according to a UNL report.

“We are all competing for the same talent. So this grant allowed us to get funds so that we can then hire the best people,” Bogner said.

AuditMiner is ready to stand 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.

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