Business Roundtable Grants

The Oklahoma Business Roundtable Grants Program has been suspended for FY21. Applications will not be accepted. 


Special Statewide Projects 2019-2020

The Roundtable has approved grant funding of $207,500 for 13 statewide economic development projects. Funding is being enhanced with more than $1.6 million in partner funding for the one-time grants.

1. Creative Oklahoma 
2. FIRST-Robotics Competition
3. Governor's Economic Development Marketing Team (GEDMT)
4. i2E – Love’s Entrepreneurs Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition
5. i2E – Oklahoma Bioscience Association & BIO Trade Show
6. Oklahoma Department of Career Technology 
7. Oklahoma Economic Development Council (OEDC) 
8. Oklahoma Governor’s International Team
9. Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance
10. Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation 
11. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education 
12. Stitchcrew, Inc.
13. Tulsa Community College  

1. Creative Oklahoma – Oklahoma Entrepreneur Mentoring Program

Entrepreneurship program in cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Venture Mentoring Service. The goal is to match Oklahoma mentors (business executives, entrepreneurs) with early start-up companies. The program uses a team mentoring approach with groups of 3-5 mentors who sit with the entrepreneur in sessions providing practical, professional advice and coaching. Funds will be used to support the ongoing work of the MIT team and Creative Oklahoma in identifying and training new mentors. The program recently chose its first group of five promising Oklahoma start-ups. Partners include Creative Oklahoma, i2E, OKC Chamber and OG&E.  

2. FIRST-Robotics Competition

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.  FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) attracts and engages Oklahoma high school students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in an exciting hands-on learning experience, mentored by working professionals. This is a national competition and is growing in Oklahoma. Oklahoma will have two Regional competitions in March 2020: in Oklahoma City (60 teams) and a new regional in Tulsa (42-48 teams). Both will involve hundreds of students. Funding will be used to support costs associated with convention centers, audio visual and related needs.

3. Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team (GEDMT)

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. Funding will be directed to several projects.

  • Professional Development Retreat (July 2019)
  • California Business Recruitment Call Trip (September/October 2019)
  • Consultant Connect (Hosting Group of National Site Consultants in OK in October 2019)
  • Dallas-based National Site Consultants Reception (January 2020)
  • Atlanta Business Development Call Trip (May 2020)
  • Messaging Marketing Campaign –This will include a condensed research branding/positioning study (against our competing states) to help the team market Oklahoma as the best alternative for business expansion or location. Web and print materials will be developed.

4. i2E – Love’s Entrepreneurs Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition

The Love’s Entrepreneurs Cup is a statewide collegiate business plan competition to help grow more entrepreneurs who will lead future startups that will create jobs and wealth for the state. The competition will be held in March 2020 and will include teams from dozens of Oklahoma colleges and universities. In its 15 year history, over 2200 college students have participated in the Love’s Cup - producing over 700 innovative ideas and several new start-up companies. Partners include Love’s, OG&E, OCAST, Google, OU, OSU, BancFirst and OK State Regents. Funds will be directed to general event support ($10,000) and three Paulsen Scholarships ($15,000), named for longtime Roundtable President Don Paulsen. Six Roundtable members will serve as judges for the event.

5. i2E – Oklahoma Bioscience Association & BIO Trade Show

The biotechnology project is twofold – supporting annual promotional and education activities of the statewide OKBio Association and in support of dozens of companies at the annual BIO convention in San Diego in 2020. 

OKBio is requesting continued support from Roundtable. 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.

6. Oklahoma Department of Career Technology – Oklahoma Education & Industry Partnership (OEIP)

An annual workforce development project to provide hundreds of 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 technology workforce. Thousands of students are impacted through this STEM program. Funds will be used for regional teacher training sessions across Oklahoma in May and June 2020.

7. Oklahoma Economic Development Council (OEDC) – Governor’s Economic Dev.  & Workforce Summit

The Governor’s Economic Development and Workforce Summit will be held August 12-13, 2019 at the Edmond Conference Center. The conference will be managed through OEDC/State Chamber and will partner with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and Governor’s Office. The conference is targeted to business and community leaders, tribal governments, economic and workforce development professionals. Participants will receive IEDC sanctioned training, share best practices, meet national site selectors and learn about new programs, policies and initiatives to stimulate the economy and further the Governor’s mission of making Oklahoma a Top Ten state.  The goal is 400 attendees. Topics will include Opportunity Zone initiatives, site development, downtown revitalization and economic incentives. An annual awards program recognizing individuals and projects is also planned.  Funding will be matched by EDA grant and economic development partners.  

8. Oklahoma 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. 

Targeted project funds: 

  • 2019-2020 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.
  • Industrial Receptions and Networking Events in aerospace, oil & gas, automotive, including Offshore Technology Summit Reception in Houston.
  • 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.
  • Hosting Foreign Trade Delegations – Meetings and Events with several business trade and government delegations to promote increased Oklahoma exports and inward international investment. Dates TBA.
  • Community Networking Reception –Executive and Legislative Leaders, Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team and state agency leaders. 

9. Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance – Manufacturing Network Lunches and Forums

The Manufacturer Networking Luncheon (MNL) project is designed bring Oklahoma manufacturers together to connect, learn, and potentially do business with one another. The project will increase awareness of manufacturing assets in the specified region and encourage business to business networking between industries. The project will include a minimum of 8 networking events across the state – focusing on regional markets and industry concentrated centers. These include – SW (Lawton) SC (Ardmore), SE (Durant), NW (Woodward or Enid), NE (Pryor or Owasso) and concentrated manufacturing centers (OKC, Tulsa and Broken Arrow). Funding will be matched by the host communities. 

Also, for the development and launch of a new “Accelerating Manufacturing 4.0 Technologies in Oklahoma” program and the 2019 Manufacturing Conference.

10. Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation – BIO Venture Forum

The OMRF BioVenture Forum, organized by the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, is scheduled for the fall of 2020 in Oklahoma City. The forum will bring 40-45 decision makers from out of state BioPharma and venture capital groups to showcase OMRF’s and Oklahoma healthcare innovation opportunities. Goal is to attract new business and technology relationships and garner new venture capital funding for Oklahoma led development. Previous events were held in 2015 and 2017. Results have included new company spinoffs and drug development partnerships with companies such as Glaxosmithkline. Key partners include i2E, Presbyterian Health Foundation, OU and OSU.

11. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education – Higher Education and the “Future of Work” Forum

The nature of work is changing rapidly. This project will include an action oriented one-day forum and work session for the state higher education and business community to receive the latest baseline data on how technology and other factors will affect the “future of work”. The data and discussion will provide participants with a common level of understanding on the future of work, its challenges and potential solutions. Results will be used to help chart action plans in concert with Oklahoma’s business and higher education community – including efforts to improve both college attainment level of the Oklahoma workforce and focused alignment of higher education areas for current and developing clusters such as aerospace and defense, finance, IT, health and bio, agribusiness and advanced manufacturing.

Roundtable funding will be targeted for the keynote speaker/facilitator. Matching funds will be provided from businesses and education community.  

12. Stitchcrew, Inc. – StichCrew Accelerator (Thunder LaunchPad)

The non-profit StitchCrew organization hosts an accelerator program to connect technology driven entrepreneurs with the resources they need to launch and grow businesses in Oklahoma. They help connect new companies with the capital, resources and social networks they need to launch and scale their operation. To date, over 39 companies have been assisted. 

Funds will be used to sponsor a total of 20 new Oklahoma startups (with high representation of female and minority founders) for a period of one year. Additional “batches” will be funded from other private sources. 

Partners include the Oklahoma City Thunder, Google, Inasmuch Foundation and Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation.

13. Tulsa Community College

This grant to Tulsa Community College (TCC) will help support two strategic business conferences to enhance the growth of the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry sector in Oklahoma and region. Last year, Oklahoma was primary host for the Oklahoma/Kansas Unmanned Aerial Systems Cluster - UAS Tech Forum conference in Broken Arrow. This year the regional UAS Tech conference will be held in Salina, Kansas August 21-22, 2019 with TCC, Oklahoma communities and companies participating. In addition, Tulsa Community College will also cohost (with Osage Nation) a Public Safety Drone Conference November 6 & 7, 2019 at the Osage Nation’s Skyway 36 Drone Port near Tulsa. Funds for both events will be used to support costs for keynote speakers, tech presentations and related conference expenses.  Target participants include entrepreneurs, investors, tech transfer and corporate representatives.