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Pipeline, Nebraska partners bring entrepreneurial fellowship to state

Pipeline is coming to Nebraska, meaning entrepreneurs from the state now are eligible to apply for the entrepreneurial fellowship program’s first regional class.

A group that includes Nebraska entrepreneurs, angel investors, technology leaders and the University of Nebraska today is announcing it will help fund the regional expansion of Pipeline, a five-year-old, Kansas-based program for innovative, high-growth entrepreneurs. As we reported in April, Pipeline this year is expanding its focus from Kansas to a larger region because of budget cuts in Kansas and a subsequent $800,000 challenge grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

“We are eager to showcase the innovation and growth in Nebraska, while simultaneously opening Pipeline’s network to Nebraska entrepreneurs as well,” David Milligan, the co-founder of Advent Law Firm and a facilitator of Pipeline’s expansion to Nebraska, said in a release. “This is a win-win partnership for the entire region.”

As part of that challenge grant, Pipeline has been in discussions with various leaders in the Midwest to determine the right boundaries for its expansion. According to Pipeline president and CEO Joni Cobb, Nebraska became a front-runner early in the process and will now be a key partner for Pipeline’s three-year pilot expansion project.

“They just really were very aggressive about being part of this conversation and the expansion,” Cobb said by phone on Monday. “It’s been great working with them.”

That sentiment was echoed by other local backers of the program’s expansion. 

“We are eager to work with Pipeline over the coming weeks to identify Nebraska entrepreneurs, mentors and partners who share this drive to foster innovative companies in our region,” Dr. James Linder (left, photo from linkedin.com), the president of the University of Nebraska Technology Development Corporation, said in a press release. 

Said Ken Moreano, the executive director of the Scott Technology Transfer and Incubator Center: “Pipeline understands the power of creating a national network for entrepreneurs located in the Midwest. This partnership will provide a strong and strategic addition to our portfolio of programs to accelerate the growth of innovative companies in our region.”

Pipeline is currently accepting applications for its 2012 class. Applications must be submitted by Oct. 24. Ideal candidates for the program are already running their venture and entering a phase during which a year of intensive resources, skill-building and networks would accelerate the growth and scaling of that venture. There is no revenue or industry requirement, but applicants must be willing to invest time and effort in the fellowship. More on the preferred criteria for applicants, specifics on what the fellowship entails and the benefits of the fellowship can be found on Pipeline’s application page.