Business Roundtable Grants

Special Statewide Projects 2018-2019

The Roundtable has approved grant funding of $304,500 for 18 statewide economic development projects. Funding is being enhanced with more than $1.6 million in partner funding for the one-time grants. 

1.   Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce/Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Tech Forum

2.   Creative Oklahoma/Oklahoma Entrepreneur Mentor Program (OKEMP)

3.   FIRST/Robotics

4.   Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team

5.   Governor’s International Team

6.   Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Partnership/Federal Lab Consortium

7.   i2E/ Love’s (formerly Governor’s) Cup Competition

8.   i2E/ OK Bioscience Association & BIO Trade Show

9.   Norman Economic Development Coalition/Weather & Cluster Development

10. Northeast OK Regional Alliance/Future Forward and NORAx

11. OK2Grow/Oklahoma Education & Industry Partnership

12. Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission/Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture 2018

13. OCAST/Innovation Hub Agile Prototyping Center

14. Oklahoma Economic Development Council/ Select USA & Econ. Development Academy

15. Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance (formerly funded through OCAST) – Manufacturing Network

16. Oklahoma State Department of Education/Teacher Externships

17. Potts Family Foundation/Business Marketing

18. StitchCrew Inc./Thunder LaunchPad


Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce/Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Tech Forum

This grant will help support a major Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Forum to be held in Broken Arrow in September.

The UAS Tech Forum is a convergence of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, tech transfer professionals, economic development officials and other service providers in the UAS industry. This event features tech presentations, networking with attendees and exhibitors, potential investment opportunities, thought-provoking panel discussions and relevant keynote speakers.

The forum will be attended by small to mid-sized companies, researchers, service providers and industry leaders who are both seeking and sharing more information on this growing Oklahoma industry. Several federal program managers and defense companies will also participate. Flight Safety, Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Tech, and the Cherokee Nation have all indicated their support for this event.


Creative Oklahoma/Oklahoma Entrepreneur Mentor Program (OKEMP)

The requested funds are for direct support of the Oklahoma Entrepreneur Mentoring Program, a program of Creative Oklahoma. It will continue the relationship with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Venture Mentoring Service (MIT VMS) and have them return to Oklahoma and train our mentors and complete the start-up of the program.

The MIT VMS program is widely recognized as one of the most dynamic mentoring approaches in the world and has been implemented globally in over 70 organizations. The model offers an unbiased, confidential team-mentoring approach and will be the first MIT-based mentoring program for entrepreneurs in Oklahoma and the region. The goal is to identify, screen, and select at least 25 qualified “foundational” mentors for the program entrepreneurs to apply to be mentees and screen for those that fit this profile. As the initial mentor/mentee teams are part of a pilot project, we intend to select no more than 8 entrepreneurs by August 2018 for the program. MIT staff and volunteers will be brought to OKC in late August/early September to provide formal mentor training and the first mentoring sessions will “kick off” in late September/early October 2018.

The OKEMP will connect startup entrepreneurs in Oklahoma with experienced business leaders filling a current gap in Oklahoma’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting small business growth.

Formed in 2006, Creative Oklahoma is a statewide non-profit organization advancing Oklahoma’s economy through creativity and innovation-based initiatives in education, commerce and culture.



Teams from across the country compete in an annual robotics competition designed to pair professionals and young people to solve an engineering design problem and compete. The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) Robotics Competition-OK-Regional project runs from January thru March 2019 and attracts and engages high school students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in an exciting hands-on learning experience, mentored by working professionals.

The Oklahoma Regional competition will be held in late March in Oklahoma City. It will involve hundreds of students and approximately 60 school teams.


Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team

The marketing team consists of over 45 community economic developers who help market, recruit and grow Oklahoma business investment and jobs in tandem with the work of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Commerce Department and partners. Members travel nationwide on behalf of the State of Oklahoma to call on business prospects, consultants and investors interested in location, relocation or expansion of manufacturing and service opportunities in Oklahoma. The Team annually sponsors and participates in several targeted domestic trade missions and events and hosts key corporate decision makers who visit the state.

The Team anticipates sponsoring the following events: Dallas Real Estate and Site Consultant reception (March), an Atlanta call trip (May) and a Southern California call trip (September) with site selection consultants, commercial real estate professionals, targeted company executives and/or US based commercial attaches/contacts representing other nations, plus annual event for professional development. Funds will also be used to host targeted global site location consultants throughout the state.


Governor’s International Team

The team is a 48-member group of Oklahoma companies, communities, law firms, education institutions and economic development organizations supporting the Governor, Lt. Governor, Commerce Department and Secretary of State with protocol, export and foreign direct investment activities.

Project funds will be used for four activities:

  • 2018-2019 Oklahoma Consular Summit, which will bring 8-10 consular and diplomatic officials from the state’s closest international government partners to Oklahoma to foster governmental ties, deepen relationships between their nations and Oklahoma businesses.
  • OKGIT-OK Department of Commerce Offshore Technology Summit Reception in Houston and other events and receptions for honoring international dignitaries.
  • April International Day at the Capitol – The OKGIT Collaborates with University Members and their network to identify International student body leaders that may also be influential in developing future business opportunities to attend a legislative luncheon to give the students an opportunity to meet legislators and identify potential foreign direct investment from their respective countries.
  • Participation with the World Creative Forum or Dutch Design Week in Denmark or the Netherlands.


Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Partnership/Federal Lab Consortium

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has joined with the Mid-Continent and Far West Regions of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer to bring their annual meeting to Oklahoma City. The event will be August 28-30 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel.

Technology transfer representatives from over 50 of our nation's federal labs are expected to attend. The meeting is their annual gathering to share best practices. The region and state have also been afforded a special opportunity to showcase our technology and connect some of our tech hungry entrepreneurs, companies, and research institutions directly with the labs.

Funds will be used to:

  • Sponsor the conference program and fund a reception with Oklahoma companies.
  • Research and perform a matching process between 25 Oklahoma companies and the appropriate lab representatives.
  • Provide transportation and arrange a tour or tours of appropriate research facilities.


i2E/ Love’s (formerly Governor’s) Cup Competition

The Love’s Cup is a statewide collegiate business plan competition that simulates the real-world process of researching a market, writing a business plan and making a presentation to potential investors. The competition is designed to help grow more entrepreneurs who will lead future startups that will create jobs and wealth for the state. In its 14-year history, nearly 2150 college students have taken the Love's Cup challenge, producing over 700 innovative ideas from 36 campuses statewide and awarding over $1.8 million in cash, $125,000 in scholarships and $231,000 in fellowships. The statewide 2019 Love's Cup Competition is scheduled to be held in March of 2019 culminating in the Awards Dinner Event in April of 2019 in Oklahoma City.

Roundtable funding will help underwrite the competition plus three, $5,000 Paulsen Award Scholarships (named for former Roundtable President Donald Paulsen).


i2E/ OK Bioscience Association & BIO Trade Show

The project is twofold – supporting promotional and education activities of the statewide OKBIO Association and in support of dozens of companies at the annual BIO convention in Boston in 2019.

In FY2018, the OKBio events had record attendance and OKBio continues to build its presence at the BIO International. In addition, OKBio provides scholarships to two small Oklahoma bio companies to attend the BIO International Convention each year.

The BIO International Convention is hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), which represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. The Oklahoma pavilion at BIO will include designated areas for companies to hold partnering meetings with associates from around the world. Each year, this convention allows the Oklahoma delegation to connect with potential partners and highlight the Oklahoma bioscience region as a whole.


Norman Economic Development Coalition/Weather & Cluster Development

The Norman Economic Development Coalition (NEDC) is requesting support to develop an updated statewide strategy and implementation plan for the expansion of the weather and radar cluster in Oklahoma. The strategic plan will focus on business attraction, business retention and expansion and entrepreneurship.

The project follows up the initial work done by the Oklahoma EDGE group in 2003. Because the economy and opportunities have changed significantly since that time, NEDC leadership believe it is time to update the state strategy. Already, several major projects have come to Norman and region, including Weather Decision Technologies, Atmospheric Technology Service Co., and Weather Fusion (Corelogic) as well as corporate expansions such at Weathernews and the most recent location, Nanowave. NEDC will work with nationally known strategic planning firm Market Street Services on the project to include research and implementation efforts.


Northeast OK Regional Alliance/Future Forward and NORAx

NORA is a 14-county economic development organization of business, education, tribal and civic leaders, local chambers of commerce and other key stakeholders to develop and improve northeast Oklahoma.

Funding will advance two of the organization’s flagship efforts that focus on the future of the region.

  • Northeast Oklahoma Regional Summit, NORAx: A Decade of Collaboration Moving NE OK Forward, to be held October 23, 2018 in Tahlequah, OK. NORA will utilize funding to attract a national speaker.
  • NE OK CEO Future Forward – a day-long facilitated roundtable with targeted CEOs representing the 14-county region that NORA serves. The initiative is designed to educate and engage as a call to action and guide the region. Business and industry leaders will have the opportunity to share ideas for the future of our region on topics such as education, workforce development, leadership advancement, and legislative advocacy. The funds requested will be used for an experienced facilitator as well as venue costs. The session will be set for January 2019.


OK2Grow/Oklahoma Education & Industry Partnership

An annual workforce development project to provide Oklahoma STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teachers with relevant and rigorous content for their classroom by connecting them with industry. The goal is to grow relevance and interest in key student age groups by further introducing them to aerospace, energy, IT, bio, bio/ag and other key technology workforce segments. This connection will help Oklahoma grow a more highly qualified workforce.

Funds will be used for an El Reno (Canadian Valley Career Tech) training event for over 100 teachers in July. Additional events are scheduled for Woodward and Pryor (additional 150-200 teachers). Last year over 15,000 students were reached through this effort.


Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission/Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture 2018

EAA AirVenture 2018 will be held in July 2018 and is the world’s largest fly-in gathering and one of the world’s largest aviation events, with a total attendance of over 560,000, including up to 800 corporate exhibitors. An Oklahoma aeronautics and economic development team has had a prominent presence at the event for several years but needs additional support for promotion, advance research and lead development.

The project will develop aerospace business and manufacturing leads/prospects for Oklahoma companies and communities. Target sectors include aircraft manufacturing, avionics, aerospace parts, software, and more.

Funds will be used to match Oklahoma partners and exhibitors with prospect meetings at the show.


OCAST/Innovation Hub Agile Prototyping Center

The mission of the University of Oklahoma (OU) Tom Love Innovation Hub is to increase innovation and entrepreneurship across OU and the state. The Innovation Hub also serves as the central organization for the Small Business Administration Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program outreach, support, and experiential training across Oklahoma. The Innovation Hub is leading a series of statewide programs to improve Oklahoma’s participation in SBIR, submit more proposals, win more awards, and commercialize technologies, especially among women scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

The Innovation Hub proposes to launch the Innovation Hub Agile Collaborative Prototyping Center (ACPC) to work, side-by-side with startup and small business founders/technical staff to bring their ideas and early concepts into practical realizable prototypes at minimal cost to them. The ACPC draws upon the core capabilities of the Innovation Hub, as well as additional resources at OU. The focus of this program will be to pilot ACPC with five to ten startups and small businesses across Oklahoma. Companies will be paired with ACPC staff who will then provide a mix of design, prototyping, product development, and entrepreneurial expertise and hands-on assistance.

For each company accepted, the ACPC staff will lead the startups and small businesses through an iterative and highly collaborative prototyping process while also connecting them with entrepreneurial resources. This support will help bring Oklahoma’s newest and most brilliant ideas as close to production-ready as is possible.

The proposed ACPC resource is a natural extension of the Innovation Hub’s previously funded Oklahoma Business Roundtable, SBIRx. SBIRx was designed to help companies across Oklahoma improve their success in securing SBIR funds and commercializing their innovative concepts. The addition of technical support, through the ACPC, would serve to strengthen, even more, the potential success of these Oklahoma-based companies. The ACPC team will be led by Innovation Hub Executive Director Tom Wavering.


Oklahoma Economic Development Council/ Select USA & Econ. Development Academy

The Oklahoma Professional Economic Development Council (OEDC) is an association of 150 economic development professionals from across our state. OEDC is focused on promoting and championing the interests of economic development and the professionals that work in this industry. They work hand-in-hand with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, elected officials, state policymakers and community leaders to keep Oklahoma competitive in recruitment, retention and industry growth.

Funds will be used for two projects:

  • June 2019 – Select USA Show
    The group will take up to six legislators (and one staff member to coordinate) on a domestic call trip to Select USA in cooperation with the Department of Commerce to highlight the competitive nature of incentives and where Oklahoma is underfunded when compared to other states.
  • Nov/Dec 2018 – Economic Development Academy
    Hosting a half-day annual Economic Development Academy designed for legislators to help them be better informed about Oklahoma’s incentives and economic development efforts in our state.


Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance (formerly funded through OCAST) – Manufacturing Network

The Manufacturer Networking Luncheon (MNL) is designed bring Oklahoma manufacturers together to connect, learn, and potentially do business with one another.

The stated goals are two-fold:

  • To increase awareness of manufacturing assets in the specified region
  • To give interactions between industries that may not have occurred otherwise for the purpose of creating new business and sales

The Oklahoma Manufacturers Alliance (OMA), partnering with OCAST, is wanting to continue to take the MNL format state-wide focusing on manufacturing in two sectors: regional markets and industry concentrated centers. A minimum of 8 networking lunches are planned – NWOK, NEOK, SEOK, & SWOK and SCOK (South Central), plus manufacturing concentrated cities of OKC, Tulsa and Broken Arrow.


Oklahoma State Department of Education/Teacher Externships

Providing teacher externships gives Oklahoma teachers insight and skills to share with their students related to students’ potential career paths. The OSDE wishes to scale up the successful summer 2017 Terracon externship and increase the project to four more companies across the state. The goal is to link Oklahoma students to Oklahoma workforce demands and to keep our youth in the state as they positively contribute to our state economy and quality of life.

The project mission is to connect business leaders with teachers to transform the classroom experience, inspiring students to become the next generation of innovators. This project places committed teachers into paid externships in companies in STEM fields, so they can experience first-hand what careers might look like for their students. Externships serve as a professional development vehicle for teachers to learn about the industry related to their campus programs. By engaging with and in industry-based practices, teachers are better able to design curriculum that is meaningful and relevant.

Four businesses representing four demographic regions in Oklahoma (Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast) will participate.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) prepared a resource toolkit found on their website. This toolkit allows for ease of implementation for businesses to utilize a tailored application, vetting procedures and program structures. Additionally, the toolkit depicts the support structure that OSDE is committed to leveraging before, during and after the externship experience. Lastly, OSDE has developed an evaluative metric to assess quality and effectiveness of the implemented projects.


Potts Family Foundation/Business Marketing

The Potts Family Foundation (PFF) is a private, statewide foundation with a dual mission: nonprofit capacity building (building the "business know-how" of Oklahoma nonprofits) AND strengthening Oklahoma's workforce pipeline via sustainable early childhood initiatives.

Funding is for the development of an enhanced marketing and education plan targeted to Oklahoma business. This business education project will focus on the importance of quality early childhood education (age 0-5) which the first and most critical part of the state’s workforce pipeline. The private sector employs the majority of Oklahomans, many of whom representing families with children, pre-birth to five. What private sector employers don't know can't be shared with their employees, like the various evidence-based programs in literacy/numeracy, family support, high quality child care, and preventive health services.

Three phases of proposal:

  • An RFP will be developed and sent to 3-5 communications/marketing firms in the state. The RFP will include the charge of developing a 1-3 year marketing strategy to increase awareness among private sector employers of the need for access to quality early childhood programs in the state. The project will be capped at $30,000; $15,000 from the OBR, $10,000 from PFF, and $5,000 from Inasmuch Foundation. The latter two are confirmed. The deliverables would be a strategic plan, with milestones, and costs for both traditional and social media investments. Media purchases and other incidentals after year one will be borne by the PFF.
  • The President/CEO of the PFF will meet in person with the CEOs (and their staffs) of the top chambers of commerce in the state, as well as OBR and major tribal governments, to educate them about the importance of early education investments and programs, their outcomes and availabilities, and, finally, to seek their recommendations on how best to reach their member companies.
  • In concert with the winning RFP firm, create and implement the actionable marketing strategy. The firm selected from the RFP process will have access to the information gleaned from interviews with the chamber, OBR, and tribal executives, plus their research and proven expertise.


StitchCrew Inc./Thunder LaunchPad

The non-profit StitchCrew organization helps technology-driven entrepreneurs conceive, design and scale through operational efficiencies, marketing strategies and access to social capital. In partnership with the Oklahoma City Thunder, they host an accelerator program to connect technology driven entrepreneurs with the resources they need to launch and grow businesses in Oklahoma. They focus on recruiting technology Founders whose product or services have the potential to disrupt traditional industries in Oklahoma - Agriculture, Financial Services, Health, Education, Energy and Government, plus help introduce Oklahoma start-ups to the larger out of state investment community.

Funds will be used to sponsor a total of 20 Oklahoma startups (Founders) for a period of one year. In addition to sponsoring Oklahoma Founders, funds will also be used to host investors from out of town through for "Investor Fly-Inn" - the goal is to expose 'out of town' investors to Oklahoma Startups and to our overall innovation ecosystem by dedicating an entire day to tour innovation assets and meet with Oklahoma's innovation community. Additional “batches” will be funded from other private sources.

  • Fall Batch (10 startups) + Investor Fly-Inn, Fall 2018
  • Spring Batch (10 startups) + Investor Fly-Inn, Spring 2019

Founders are hosted in batches (cohorts). Each batch lasts 12 weeks. Founders going through our program will benefit from free working space at the Thunder LaunchPad, office hours with StitchCrew partners and a suite of legal, operations and marketing service.