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Oklahoma bursts into 2013 with momentum for entrepreneurs

Innovations and Entrepreneurs columnist Rex Smitherman writes that Oklahoma is a good place for innovations and entrepreneurs as 2013 begins.
Published: January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! Before the bowl games start today, with the possibilities of a whole new year stretching out before us, I invite you to spend a moment savoring what the next 12 months can mean to Oklahoma — if we seize the moment.

Our state continues to be recognized nationally as being a great place to start a company.

In CNBC's ranking of the top states for business, Oklahoma was ranked No. 1 for cost of living and No. 4 for cost of doing business.

In a study reported by the Kauffman Foundation, Oklahoma earned an A-plus for friendliness toward small business. (The coastal giants California, Massachusetts, and New York earned D's and F's.) ranks Oklahoma sixth in the nation for job growth. Forbes ranks Oklahoma City in the top 10 for best big cities for jobs. Tulsa is ranked in the top 10 largest manufacturing cities in the country.

Not long ago, Oklahoma was starving for risk capital. Today, with more than $40 million under management, i2E manages a continuum of capital that includes state and federally appropriated funds.

Oklahoma's entrepreneurial ecosystem is really starting to jell.

With three chapters across the state and more than 30 members, SeedStep Angels is among the largest angel groups in the region. This fiscal year, the group invested $573,000 in seven companies, a 57 percent year-over-year growth.

The Oklahoma SBIR Collaborative Resource, an innovative team effort led by i2E and Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, is striving to boost our state's share of federal funding.

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i2E has advised 550 companies that have attracted more than $770 million in funding to Oklahoma, including $489 million in private investment.

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