Business Roundtable Grants

Oklahoma Business Roundtable







The Roundtable awarded the following 17 economic development grants totaling $333,500 for FY 18:


  1. Creative Oklahoma - MIT Mentorship Program

The grant will help launch the MIT Venture Mentoring system in Oklahoma. This successful program is designed by the Massachusett’s Institute of Technology and will help match Oklahoma mentors (business executives, entrepreneurs) with early start-up companies. Goal is to provide a minimum of five company mentoring efforts in the first year and grow the effort statewide. Funds will be used to help train the initial leadership team who will essentially identify and train the new mentors and organize the program – which is scalable and replicable. Funds will be matched by Creative Oklahoma and a grant from the Chickasaw Nation. Dave King, CEO of Exaptive Inc. in OKC is a graduate of the MIT program and is providing “in-kind” technical assistance to the project.


  1. Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team – Marketing & Professional Development

Working with over 35 Oklahoma community economic developers to market, recruit and grow Oklahoma business investment and jobs – in tandem with work of Commerce Department, Governor and Lt. Governor. The group markets Oklahoma domestically to site consultants, companies and investors. The group will host promotion and recruitment events in Dallas, Atlanta and California, visit and host a targeted group of national site location consultants and business prospects throughout the year and hold an annual professional development conference.


  1. Governor’s International Team - Marketing

A 48-member group of companies, communities, law firms, education institutions and economic development organizations supporting Governor, Lt. Governor, Commerce, Secretary of State with protocol, export and foreign direct investment activities. Funding will include hosting a September 2017 Oklahoma Consular Summit, which will bring 5-8 consular and diplomatic officials from the state’s closest international government partners to Oklahoma to foster governmental ties, deepen relationships between their nations and connect Oklahoma businesses. The remainder will assist in funding the OKGIT-OK Department of Commerce Offshore Technology Summit Reception and other events and receptions for honoring our international relationships.


  1. i2E - Love’s Cup Competition

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 program awards scholarships and fellowships and has helped start-up dozens of new companies. The program is supported by signature sponsor Love’s Corporation and dozens of other companies and organizations.

Roundtable funding is directed to event support and student scholarships in the name of long-time Roundtable President, Don Paulsen.




  1. Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance – NE Regional Summit & Employ NE OK

The Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance (NORA) is a 14 -county economic development organization helping prepare and grow communities. Funding will support two of the organization’s flagship efforts that revolve around health as an economic development driver and workforce development. The first effort is the “Northeast Oklahoma Regional Summit: Healthy Communities, Strong Region” to be held October 24, 2017 in Tahlequah, OK. Funding will assist NORA in attracting a national speaker and promote the event. The second effort will support “Employ NE OK” projects – as a result of the NORA Regional Workforce plan (set to be released in June 2017). This plan studied the three growth sectors in NE OK: manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality. The plan was contracted by the Cherokee Nation as means to better align northeast Oklahoma workforce partners and to understand employer’s workforce needs.


  1. Oklahoma Bioscience Association – Networking and BIO Trade Show

Supporting the mission of the Oklahoma Bioscience Association to promote the growth of biosciences in Oklahoma through partnership building, education and outreach, networking, policy development and publicity. Funds will be used to support promotional and education activities of the statewide Association and Oklahoma’s trade efforts in support of dozens of exhibiting companies at the annual BIO convention in Boston in 2018. Last year Oklahoma hosted a major networking reception for 400 targeted corporate guests. Oklahoma bio companies conduct hundreds of one/one meetings with clients.


  1. OCAST - Manufacturing Networking Project – Statewide

In an effort to retain and grow existing Oklahoma companies, this project aims to hold 7 Manufacturing Networking events across the state in FY 2018. Locations include: SWOK (Duncan), NWOK (Enid), NEOK (Owasso), SEOK (Durant or McAlester), Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Broken Arrow.

The primary goal is to increase manufacturing (and capability) awareness between industries in the region with the purpose of increasing business between them. Funds will be matched in each local area by OCAST and private sector companies and economic development organizations.

  1. OCAST & OU IHUB - SBIRx  In an effort to direct more federal SBIRx (Small Business Innovative Research) funding support for OK start-up companies through a new partnership between the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) and the University of Oklahoma’s new IHub entrepreneur development facility in Norman. Oklahoma has received a disproportionately low amount of funding as compared to the rest of the nation for successful SBIR awards. This program, to be matched by up to $50,000 in OCAST funding, will provide mentorship and training for several SBIR Phase One companies seeking SBIR Phase Two funding status. Phase Two funding is significant and can mean a great difference in company success or failure. If SBIRx proves to be as successful as OCAST/OU I-Hub team believe it will be, OCAST will provide funding from OCAST's permanent Small Business Research Assistance (SBRA) program to sustain SBIRx in the years beyond this grant funding.


  1. OK2Grow/Dream It Do It Oklahoma – Expand Current Program

Dream It Do It facilitates the development of Oklahoma’s future workforce by creating awareness of careers and promoting pathways that build confidence and excitement for education and workplace success. This project will expand the current successful advanced manufacturing program to 2 additional high schools in the Tulsa region. Students in this program learn basic manufacturing standards such as safety, quality, production processes and maintenance awareness. Students earn certifications and also experience work-based learning through a spring internship at a local manufacturing company. The program has experienced a 50% hire rate over the past three years. Private sector and organization matching funds will be applied for this project.


  1. Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence - Oklahoma Education and Industry Partnership

A three-day professional development project for over 200 Oklahoma (K-12) teachers in STEM fields to take information to students in the classroom. Goal is to grow relevance and interest in key student age groups further introducing them to aerospace, energy, IT, bio bio/ag and other key economic sectors. The project will support two additional events in July 2018 in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. (A Lawton event was completed in 2017). Goal is to provide relevance and rigor to STEM education/training and workforce development; expose STEM educators to high value STEM careers in Oklahoma; motivate students to develop and maintain a career pathway; and provide professional development for Oklahoma STEM educators. Annually the program is designed to reach as many as 15,000 students statewide.


  1. Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative (OEWI) - PolicyLab

The Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative is the only statewide organization exclusively working to get the business community more engaged in education. Partnered with the State Chamber of Oklahoma, OEWI’s mission is two-fold—to build a bold network of business leaders working to improve our state’s workforce pipeline and to research and develop policy best practices that will truly move the needle for the kids of our state. OEWI was founded in 2013 and has since become a thought leader in ongoing education policy decisions and ensuring the business voice is heard in any education reform discussions.


Grant funding will help create the PolicyLab in 2017, including hiring researchers to delve into reviewing current policy and development of new policy, travel to review best practices with legislators and stakeholders, promotion of the business community’s involvement in policy development and review, costs associated with printing and promoting reports, etc. OEWI intends to conduct at least three studies a year looking into these issues and any other pressing education matters.


  1. Oklahoma Quality Award Foundation – Quality Award Conference & Awards

Supporting performance management training and development – through live sessions and webinars – and hosting an annual Quality Award Conference highlighting best practices of Oklahoma companies and organizations. The focus for 2017 is to target health care, K-12 public education, and small business, all sectors of our state's economic development picture that are in need of improved, sustained performance.


  1. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education – STEM & Promise Day

Funds will be used for program support to three important initiatives:

  • An annual STEM conference hosted by Governor Fallin in October 2018. It is a collaborative “learning” event targeted to several hundred educators and community leaders – with “how to” efforts to grow local STEM initiatives statewide;
  • Oklahoma's Promise Day at the State Capitol, annual event hosted by the OSRHE to showcase the success of the Oklahoma's Promise program - one of America’s best college access programs.


  1. Potts Family Foundation – Early Childhood Conference

An annual education and awareness conference set for July 2017 in Oklahoma City. The event is targeted to business and community leaders. It will highlight the latest research and programs, from within and outside the State, which are making a positive impact on families with the earliest learners
(age 0-5). This age group is the first segment of Oklahoma’s workforce pipeline. Funds will be used for conference support, including hosting nationally recognized business speakers.


  1. Techlahoma Oklahoma - Global Entrepreneurship Week -Funds are for two major projects/activities during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2017 and throughout the year. Global Entrepreneurship Week is a campaign hosted in Oklahoma and 160 countries focused on promoting entrepreneurship. Projects will include:
  • Open Beta, a creative conference and event that puts the spotlight on innovators and innovation in tech, pop culture, music, food, art, entrepreneurship, and social causes that are making an impact in Oklahoma and in the region. This is 10-day showcase of Oklahoma’s exceptional talent in these fields; and
  • We Make Oklahoma, an initiative to connect and tell the story of creative and innovative individuals, contributors and companies who are building Oklahoma’s economic future. It aims to establish an online platform for storytelling that serves as a directory and index of creative talent in the state, especially in rural areas, plus create a documentary or video series telling these stories.


  1. University of Central Oklahoma Foundation - National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Funds will be used for program support for the April 2018 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at UCO in Edmond. The conference isn’t just any research conference – it is the Olympics of student research. UCO is the first university in Oklahoma to be awarded this conference – which will bring in as many as 5,000 students/guests to the state. NCUR is the premier forum showcasing undergraduate student research and innovation. Over $1 million in public/private support is being raised for the event.


  1. U.S. FIRST Robotics – Oklahoma Regional Program

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 Oklahoma Regional competition will be held in March 2018 in Oklahoma City. It will involve hundreds of students and approximately 60 school teams. Corporate sponsorship of the program will exceed $180,000.