In a recent survey (www.thumbtack.com/survey) of more than 6,000 small-business owners nationwide, Oklahoma was one of only three states to receive an A+ in business friendliness.
This two-month business climate survey, conducted by Thumbtack
That makes for particularly informative reading for public officials and business and community leaders who seek to create an environment that encourages the formation of new companies as the engine of job creation.
The survey found that business owners and entrepreneurs prioritized easy-to-understand licensing regulations and well-publicized training programs ahead of tax-related issues as the most important elements in determining a state or city government's small-
Over the last decade-plus, through assisting more than 1,000 startup companies, Oklahoma entrepreneurs have helped i2E learn the types of training and support they need.
Developing a business plan that matches critical milestones to capital requirements, identifying and pursuing sources of nondilutive capital, constructing a reasonable valuation that won't drive investors away, building a board of directors with the experience and will to help the company gain traction and grow — we deliver help in all these areas through our Venture Advisory Services.
In the last year, which was similar to most, we received inquiries from more than 120 entrepreneurs. Thirty-five of those became new clients; 58 were referred to other appropriate services.
Those 35 new clients were assigned to our seasoned team of venture advisers who work directly with each client to figure a strategy for taking the business from where it is when the founder comes in our door through the path to commercialization.
Our novel Entrepreneur-in-Residence program engages a cadre of national experts — from CFOs to cashed out entrepreneurs — who provide the most current and relevant tools to Oklahoma entrepreneurs.
So when we see a survey that correlates the availability of entrepreneurial training in a state to that state's friendliness toward small business, we nod our heads.
We talk a lot about the importance of access to risk capital to the innovation economy — but by itself all the risk capital in the world won't create sustainable companies. That takes human know-how and shared expertise.
Tom Walker is president and CEO of i2E, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact him at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.
DID YOU KNOW?
Among small business owners nationally, women were 9 percent more likely than men to feel supported by their state governments.