Ever since the dot.com bubble burst, Oklahomans have been determined to build our own innovation economy — an economy that is diversified from our traditional reliance on oil and aerospace.
We are doing a good job of starting up high-growth companies in new sectors.
We've tackled the problem of access to startup capital through two state supported funds managed by i2E that provide proof-of-concept and seed stage capital. SeedStep Angels, an investor network we have developed of about 30 successful Oklahomans, provides additional capital and mentoring to entrepreneurs.
i2E has also teamed with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the U.S. Treasury Department to offer a fund that helps take established companies with products and revenue to expand into new products and services, allowing for growth in revenue and employees.
In all, we've served more than 560 new companies; our efforts are yielding dollars and jobs. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce reports that the economic impact of just 11 of the Oklahoma companies who received $4.5 million in seed funding from i2E have had a direct economic impact of $37.3 million with additional indirect impact of $11.8 million.
The national failure rate for small business startups is more than 50 percent in four years. Companies funded by i2E see a much better success rate with more than two-thirds making it past the four-year mark.
And that brings us to our state's next challenge in creating a thriving, sustainable innovation economy.
DID YOU KNOW?
i2E-assisted companies experienced 39 percent job growth in FY2013 with an average wage of $70,643, compared to 1.3 percent job growth statewide and an average wage of $37,246.