Bio Nebraska and UNeTech receive grant to support women in STEM

Bio Nebraska and the UNeTech Institute have received a $250,000 grant to enable the launch of Opportunity Corps, a program designed to support women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as they explore the viability of launching tech ventures.

The grant is a Central Standards grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Opportunity Corps is inspired by the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps, which helps researchers achieve entrepreneurship. 

“The Kauffman Foundation is taking a strong leadership role in the heartland, and we’re so pleased to be a part of it,” said Rod Markin, MD, PhD, executive director of UNeTech. “We’re excited to join Bio Nebraska and help expand entrepreneurship throughout Nebraska and the surrounding states.” 

As part of its Nebraska Women in STEM initiative, Bio Nebraska will expand its engagement through the grant to encourage inventions from women in STEM in Nebraska. UNeTech will be a subrecipient of Bio Nebraska’s grant and will help to identify women inventors from the campuses of the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska Medical Center to participate in the Opportunity Corps program.   

“Partnering with Bio Nebraska is the ideal collaboration for this grant,” said Stephanie Kidd, PhD, principal investigator for the grant. “We know women in STEM face huge barriers in entrepreneurship, from their male peers, male supervisors and male potential funders. Developing this program with Bio Nebraska will allow us to reach out to women in STEM in both academia and in the industry to provide innovative support and training. UNeTech could not do that alone.” 

The Central Standards grant provides matching funds to encourage and accelerate collaborations between two or more entrepreneurship support organizations working together to support Heartland entrepreneurs in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Bio Nebraska and UNeTech were among nine Central Standards grantees in the Midwest working to advance inclusive prosperity through entrepreneurship. 

“At Bio Nebraska, we’ve been committed to growing our Nebraska Women in STEM initiative to provide ongoing professional development opportunities to our more than 90 member organizations, as well as STEM professionals across the state, with the goal to recruit and retain more women in STEM in Nebraska,” said Sasha Forsen, assistant director of Bio Nebraska. “As experts in partnering with future business leaders and bringing impactful ideas into a reality, UNeTech’s partnership on this project is essential to realizing our shared goal of increasing the number of women leaders in STEM in our statewide communities.”  

About Bio Nebraska 

Founded in 2005, Bio Nebraska is a non-profit trade association dedicated to supporting, promoting and growing Nebraska’s bio-ecosystem. Bio Nebraska represents over 90 member companies from all segments of our state’s bio-ecosystem and works to connect the bio-ecosystem to the world to create opportunities for economic development and growth in the state.

About the UNeTech Institute 

The UNeTech Institute is Omaha’s only university-supported startup incubator. UNeTech engages in research to add value to startup companies. Research can come from the learning laboratories of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Metropolitan Community College or from UNeTech’s internal team of experts. 

About the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation 

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to increase opportunities that allow all people to learn, to take risks, and to own their success. The Kauffman Foundation is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and uses its $2 billion in assets to collaboratively help people be self-sufficient, productive citizens. For more information, visit and connect with us at  and .