OMAHA – The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is teaming up with local business partners, investors and Omaha’s Scott Technology Center to bring a new and exciting entrepreneurship program to Nebraska.
Beginning later this year, the Lean LaunchPad program will come to Omaha as part of the Aksarben Innovation Initiative (AII), a partnership between the Scott Technology Center, UNO Maverick Innovations and Jim Young Jr., a private investor and member of the Nebraska Angels.
Developed by Stanford professor and serial entrepreneur Steve Blank, Lean LaunchPad focuses on the market viability of a concept prior to product development and allows start-ups to stay accountable, track progress and validate results. It has been and is being used by entrepreneurs and innovators around the world as well as U.S. government agencies such as the National Science Foundation.
Traci Hancock, Director of Maverick Innovations in UNO’s Office of Research and Creative Activity; Ken Moreano, Executive Director of the Scott Technology Center; and Jim Young, Jr. are the leads of AII and have worked with students, community members and entrepreneurs from Omaha and Lincoln for 18 months to validate Nebraska’s need for the Lean LaunchPad (LLP) program.
“It fills a gap we noticed time and again as we worked with early stage companies. They were asking for investment but had not truly validated their customers and market. The Lean methodology takes a scientific approach to building a business,” says Hancock. “When Maverick Innovations launched in 2013 to help move student and faculty research into the marketplace, we also wanted to engage the Omaha community in that process. Aksarben Innovation Initiative and Lean LaunchPad help us do just that.”
Six start-up teams have been selected for Omaha’s pilot LLP program based largely on “coachability” and entrepreneurial spirit rather than experience. In addition to following the LLP methodology, the Initiative will be utilizing an innovative technology platform called LaunchPad Central, specifically designed to support and enhance the experience and efficiency of the LLP methodology.
“We are excited to work closely with Traci and her team at Aksarben Innovation Initiative as they become the first in Nebraska to implement the highly experiential Lean Launchpad methodology,” says Bhavik Joshi, Co-Founder and CEO of LaunchPad Central. “In conjunction with the University of Nebraska at Omaha, we look forward to supporting their Evidence Based Entrepreneurship Initiatives and to the positive economic impact it will have for the state and the entire region for years to come.”
Moreano and Young are subsidizing the program costs for the first group of start-up teams—all they need to bring to the table are their ideas and commitment to the program. Future start-up teams will be chosen through an application process administered through the Initiative. Additionally, Maverick Innovations together with various UNO colleges will be running LLP cohorts as part of the curriculum at UNO to students in the coming academic school year.
For more information on the Aksarben Innovation Initiative or the Lean LaunchPad program please contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at 402.554.2129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Scott Technology Center
Developed by the public, non-profit Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation, the Scott Technology Center opened in 2002 with the purpose of developing and facilitating partnerships between industry, government and academia by serving as an incubator for start-up companies. It has played host to such successful start-ups as Straight Shot and Interface Code School as well as National Science Foundation funded start-ups. Located next to the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus, the Center provides cutting-edge infrastructure, flexible space and an unparalleled business-networking environment.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.