UNeTech Leaves 2020 Behind and Looks Forward to 2021 - UNeTech Institute

Let’s face it 2020 was a bit of a dumpster fire—a global health pandemic that impacted the economy and job market, a contentious political climate that left many of us at odds with our family and friends, and Zoom holidays away from loved ones that had us smiling through tears as we opened gifts via camera.

At UNeTech, we are ready to leave 2020 behind us and march onward into 2021 with some exciting new programs and initiatives in each of our departments that will allow us to place energy on some positivity for this new year. We hope that sharing our plans for 2021 will give all of you something to focus on this month as things take a turn.

Joe Runge, Associate Director

In 2021 we will focus on strengthening UNeTech’s collaboration with its community partners: the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Metro Community College and the endless resources within the University of Nebraska. We will also work on supporting the team at UNeTech grow and expand the mission. From writing the blog, connecting with investors to revising budget – we cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together!

Stephen Hug, Entrepreneur in Residence

This year we are expanding our support. Our goal is to help more inventors and entrepreneurs advance their ideas and create economic impact. We are working with our educational partners to provide students additional learning experiences. We are also seeking opportunities to fuel startup ventures with financial support.

Jace Gatzemeyer, Grants Administration Coordinator

In 2021, we will be crafting and submitting SBIR/STTR grant proposals to several different government agencies for our resident startups. One proposal we’ll be submitting to the Department of Defense in February—with help of OK Catalyst, an Oklahoma-based startup accelerator—involves creating a new design for using balance-assessment to screen for concussions. Another product for which we’ll be seeking funding, this time from the National Science Foundation, is a cheap and mobile laparoscopic training simulator. In April we hope to submit a strong proposal to the National Institutes of Health asking for their support in developing a device that helps create arteriovenous fistulae (connections between arteries and veins), which are used in dialysis treatment.

Stephanie Kidd, Communications Strategist

This year, we will expand our communications strategy across more platforms — perhaps with a new YouTube channel, and TikTok account, and a reboot of our podcast Innovation Overground. We will also work on establishing a collaborative space for local entrepreneurs to use. Finally we will explore opportunities for women and members of the BIPOC community to be more involved both in the invention side of UNeTech and the entrepreneurial side, focusing on eliminating barriers that might keep these folks from finding success currently in these roles.

It’s been a tough year, my friends. We hope that you have made it through with minimal loss. At UNeTech, we plan to make the most of last year’s dumpster fire. Even a dumpster fire can be used to toast marshmallows.