Consultant guides Oklahoma entrepreneurs in quest for funding

Innovations and Entrepreneurs columnist Rex Smitherman writes that Oklahoma has turned to an out-of-state consultant for help in securing funding for small business innovation and technology.
BY REX SMITHERMAN Published: August 28, 2012
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There are many challenging things about starting a company. Actually, there are few nonchallenging things about starting a company.

One of the biggest hurdles is getting any new technology to the point of validation to attract private capital.

The Small Business Association's 30-year-old Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs were created to help.

Oklahoma has been near the bottom of the list nationally when it comes to accessing the $2.5 billion of annual SBIR/STTR funding.

Oklahomans like to learn by doing — but we know that to efficiently accelerate the upward bend of this tough curve, we need help from experts outside our state.

“Securing SBIR/STTR funding is a process,” said Mark Henry, founder of Oregon's Grow Emerging Companies LLC. “We like to work with states like Oklahoma that want to become more competitive at whatever level of support they are funded to provide,” he said.

The Oklahoma SBIR Collaborative Resource (OSCR), a targeted program co-led by i2E and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) to increase Oklahoma's share of SBIR grants, engaged Henry to provide training, strategy consulting and SBIR/STTR proposal reviews and support.

“Mark has helped innovative small firms across the country win hundreds of early-stage, nondilutive awards totaling some $500 million,” said Rick Rainey, co-director of Oklahoma's collaborative resource.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Since the 1990s, companies owned by women have received between about 8 and 10 percent of SBIR/STTR funds. In 2012, so far, they have received more than 30 percent.

Source: www.SBIR.gov

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