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.)
Careerbuilders.com 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.
The Proof of Concept Center, an innovative collaborative project between the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Cowboy Technologies LLC, OCAST and i2E, aims to speed up technology commercialization.
There's another exciting development for 2013. i2E is delighted to welcome our new CEO. Scott Meacham, former state treasurer, director with the Crowe & Dunlevy law firm and member of i2E's board since 2010, brings expansive experience, a stellar record of leadership in Oklahoma and a vision for expanding the scope of entrepreneurial support for Oklahoma's innovation economy.
Oklahomans are lucky to live in a state where we are big enough to grow an innovation economy and small enough to have enduring, personal relationships statewide with people who are committed to adding jobs and wealth through entrepreneurship.
For entrepreneurs, Oklahoma in 2013 is a great place to be.
Rex Smitherman is interim 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 Smitherman at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.
DID YOU KNOW:
i2E has advised 550 companies that have attracted more than $770 million in funding to Oklahoma, including $489 million in private investment.