WASHINGTON — A $1 million federal grant was awarded Thursday to an Oklahoma City nonprofit that helps startups in technology fields, and five Oklahoma City entities announced they will match the money. The U.S. Economic Development Administration made the grant to i2E Inc. to fund the Oklahoma City Technology Business Launch Program. "This project will accelerate the growth of early-stage advanced technology companies and create new high-tech jobs where many manufacturing jobs have been lost,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa. John Fernandez, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, said the "investment to advance i2e's efforts to accelerate the technology commercialization sector in Oklahoma City will help create new job opportunities for local workers and prepare the region for growth and competitiveness.” Plans are for i2E to locate the business program — which will focus on technology companies ripe for assistance — in the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park. Tom Walker, president and CEO of i2E, said the grant and matching money from the local partners will lead to "an acceleration of innovation in our region and the creation of high-impact jobs in Oklahoma City and our state.” The federal grant will be matched with another $1 million collectively from the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the city of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the Oklahoma Business Roundtable and Presbyterian Health Foundation. "This grant will allow Oklahoma and Oklahoma City to better serve our startup and growth-stage companies,” said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "These firms, which could be our next generation of headquarter companies, are critical to the long-term economic health of our community and state. Partnerships such as this make perfect sense for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.” Cathy O'Connor, assistant Oklahoma City manager, said the OKC Economic Development Trust would provide its portion of the matching money from the general obligation bond issue for economic development OK'd in 2007.
Other developmentsAlso Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $750,000 loan to the Logan County Economic Development Council in Guthrie to help retain small businesses in the area.