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Huge Win for the Heartland

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

The SBIR Hub of the Heartland (the SBIR Hub), an ecosystem of research and development programs, has been selected as part of an inaugural group of eight awardees for the $150,000 SBIR Catalyst Award. This award catapults its effort to reverse the historically poor performance in funding through leveraging SBIR/STTR as an economic development tool to launch and grow a new generation of regional startups. The purpose of the SBIR Hub is to become the heartbeat of innovation and showcase a diverse group of entrepreneurs who are passionate about leading the way in manufacturing, renewable energy, and aerospace technology.

The innovation ecosystem flourishes by fostering relationships with change-makers, technology gurus, and business owners who have the potential to transform the region through modernization. By supporting underrepresented and minority-driven missions the SBIR Hub is able to cultivate ventures that change the trajectory of success throughout the heartland.

Offering a wide range of activities and programs, The University of Nebraska - Omaha Business Development Center (NBDC) provides a one-stop-shop to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs, offering a multitude of services from registration requirements, business formation and business plans, to financial projection development. NBDC has assisted a number of pharmacology researchers to apply for, and obtain, SBIR funding - growing a cluster of capability in the state and financial support to technology firms, including National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) Site, Innovation Fund Award, and Encountering Innovation Week.

“...I hope such regional cooperation becomes a model, developing and disseminating best practices for inclusive approaches toward supporting entrepreneurs in research and development (R&D).” Josh Nichol-Caddy, Nebraska Business Development Center

Meet the SBIR Hub Team


Formed in 2008 and officially incorporated in 2011, Startup Junkie provides no-cost one-on-one consulting to the underserved entrepreneurial community focusing on women and minority-owned businesses. Programs like Startup Junkie provide access to resources and capital as business owners are looking to expand or scale their business.

An office of Science Venture Studio, brings a combined 30+ years of experience and involvement working with entrepreneurs in STEM-related fields. SVS also hires students in STEM-related disciplines, as commercialization fellows, from the University of Arkansas to assist companies with market validation, customer discovery, and commercialization research.


The Wichita State University (WSU) Center for Entrepreneurship supports ventures through product realization, commercialization, and capital investment. The center specifically focuses on leaning into efforts that advance sustainability, technology innovation, and the progress of underserved communities. Leading the way for growth, WSU facilitates several business planning and technology development competitions and programs providing assistance and/or financial support to technology firms, including National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) Site, Innovation Fund Award, and Encountering Innovation Week.