Greater Omaha 2040 — Prosperity

In 2040, our regional economy is thriving. Having surpassed our peer regions, we now find ourselves neck-and-neck with our aspirational regions of Austin, Raleigh and Nashville.

All of this because we capitalized on an intentional, strategic outcome: quality over quantity. As a result, growth and prosperity are maximized, positioning us for continued leading-edge opportunities characterized by inventiveness, economic success and tactically-creative forward momentum.

2040 Goals for the Region

By 2040, Greater Omaha will be recognized as a region on the rise, a region that is a technology leader, a region that is heard on the global stage.

  • The economy is built on high-wage, high-growth industries.
  • The existing business base is growing rapidly off the new wave of innovation.  Startups, now largely tackling industry challenges identified within the region’s target sectors/technologies, have found the region to be fertile ground. Area companies have become best-in-class at being first customers and early investors. The startup funding spectrum (pre-seed, seed and venture) is strong locally and is wired into other funds on the coasts that have long since discovered the “value venture investing” opportunities in the Midwest.
  • Collectively, tech startups under ten years old are the largest employer in our regional economy.
  • “The Greater Omaha Way” of startup and innovation has been written about extensively in the startup and entrepreneurship communities.
  • The region has leadership positions in a variety of technologies, including AI, AR/VR, biomaterials, blockchain, cybersecurity, data analytics, nanotech and UAV.
  • The region now finds itself on par with competing regions in terms of minority business ownership, small business creation and the rapid scale of these firms.  Today, we have hundreds of major minority business owners that run strong companies while also making a strong contribution to the leadership of the region.
  • No longer satisfied with leading the country, the business community set its sights on winning globally. With more innovative, technologically advanced products and services, the region has seen its exports more than triple and the non-ag commodity shipments have grown by an order of magnitude.
  • Having learned from the success of Warren Buffett, the region, by 2040, enjoys being consistently on the winning side of the business acquisition game. Our region is a major center of private equity with our PE leaders actively acquiring firms largely within our targeted sectors.
  • Greater Omaha is home to a series of second headquarters from Silicon Valley and the East Coast. What started as a cost savings move for back office operations has matured into a more advanced operation for these second offices. Dev shops of the leading Silicon Valley firms dot the landscape.

 

What “disruptions” would increase our performance in this strategy?

  • The region continuing to fund innovation capacity within the schools, universities and startup scene, building upon the influx of innovation centers developed around 2017 (Kiewit University, UNMC research center, iEXCEL, The Startup Collaborative (TSC), Kitchen Council, Do Space, Metro’s CAET, and the UNO/First Data partnership)
  • Foundations agreeing to invest one percent of their endowments in local seed and venture funds
  • Nebraska and Iowa reworking their incentives to provide greater support for early stage tech companies, increase awards to high-quality job creation projects, and recognize and reward innovation-driven projects
  • Nebraska and Iowa each setting policy goals to be among the first five states in the country to adopt ‘welcoming’ regulatory policies for new business models (much like what occurred 100+ years ago when setting up a favorable regulatory environment for the insurance industry and more recently, when doing the same for ethanol and biofuels.)
  • Omaha’s major corporations increasing their venture capital investments, locally and across the country, by 100 percent
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