Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City

In 2017, WalletHub named Oklahoma City the nation’s best large city to start a small business as well as the 10th-best for Hispanic entrepreneurs.

Oklahoma City, OK, is the state’s capital and most-populous city. The city is also the 27th-largest in the United States as well as the principal city of the United States’ 41st-largest metropolitan area. In 2017, WalletHub named it the nation’s best large city to start a small business as well as the 10th-best for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Additionally, Business Insider also ranked Oklahoma City as the nation’s best big city to start a business in 2017.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Oklahoma City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

The Oklahoma City branch of 1 Million Cups, which organizes regular events to support entrepreneurial communities around the country.

Not strictly an entrepreneurial group, Central Oklahoma Toastmasters is the Oklahoma City-area branch of a group that aims to grow its members’ leadership and communication.

A networking group with the primary goal of supporting entrepreneurs by helping them make connections with and supporting one another.

OKC Real Estate Investors aims to create an environment to support those investing in real estate and give them a place to mingle and network with one another.

WisdomX is a business group that supports both its members’ business careers and their personal growth with regular meetings.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Confluence Conference is an annual conference celebrating, exploring, and educating attendees about the world of digital marketing.

Held annually by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the Metro 50 Awards Banquet is a prestigious event honoring business leaders and entrepreneurs in the community.

An annual conference celebrating and supporting creative people in the Oklahoma City community.

Schmoozapalooza is a large networking event and trade show held twice per year by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

An annual conference held in Oklahoma City that celebrates women in leadership positions in the worlds of business and entrepreneurship.

 

Startup Competitions:

A business plan competition that allows college students in the state of Oklahoma to compete in one of two divisions: high growth or small business.

Just down the road in Norman, OK, students at the University of Oklahoma can join the Sooner Launch Pad, which helps grow businesses and hosts a startup competition.

Semi-regular weekend-long startup competitions in which teams pitch and flesh out business ideas and receive valuable feedback.

 

Co-working Spaces:

The Collective is a co-working space that aims to help support women in business and entrepreneurship.

Halcyon Works is a high-tech co-working space with conference rooms, a kitchen stocked with coffee and tea, and 24/7 access to full-time members.

With three locations, PC Executive Services offers office space for rent as well as co-working options, meeting rooms, and support services.

Rise is a co-working space that places an emphasis on collaboration and community and offers a free week to new members.

Started by Rose State College, the Innovation Station offers modernly-designed co-working space, with the first visit being free.

StarSpace46 is a co-working space specifically focused on technology and entrepreneurship that offers a variety of membership plans.

 

Maker spaces:

Students at Rose State College have access to the Business & Information Technology Prototyping Lab, a fully-functional digital prototyping and additive manufacturing facility.

With a membership of $50, Prototek is a large makerspace that offers a wide variety of equipment and hosts monthly open shop nights.

The University of Oklahoma’s Innovation Hub offers opportunities for students to educate themselves and gain experience in creating things.

 

Incubators:

The University of Central Oklahoma sponsors The Catbird Seat, an incubator program for Oklahoma-owned and operated small businesses.

Known as E3K, Earth Elements Entrepreneurs’ Kitchen offers kitchen space and support to promising food-related startups and small businesses.

Hosted by the Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Launch Pad FT is a business incubator providing support to early-stage startups.

Hosted by the Moore Norman Technology Center, the BDC assists entrepreneurs in the process of launching a new business venture.

Rose State College hosts the Small Business Development Center, which offers support to local entrepreneurs and small business owners at no cost.

 

Incubators & Accelerators: Which Best Fits Your Needs?

 

Accelerators:

A combination incubator and accelerator program that provides support and capital to startups and small businesses in Oklahoma.

The University of Oklahoma hosts an accelerator program that provides teams of students with support as well as $10,000 in funding.

StitchCrew and the Oklahoma City Thunder teamed up to create Thunder Launchpad, an accelerator for startups in the agriculture, banking, health, education, and energy industries.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Rose State College offers a small business operations concentration in its Business Administration program as well as a number of resources outside of the classroom.

In addition to offering a degree in Arts Entrepreneurship, UCO can connect entrepreneurial-minded students with a number of valuable resources to help them succeed.

Just outside of Oklahoma City in Norman, the University of Oklahoma provides a number of entrepreneurial resources to students through the Tom Love Center for Entrepreneurship.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

Acorn Growth Companies is a private equity firm that works with companies in the aerospace and defense industry.

Made up of Oklahoma State University alumni, Cowboy Technology Angels gives back to the Oklahoma community by investing in promising technology startups.

With branches in private equity, real estate, automotive, and oil and gas sectors, Hall Capital is a family-led venture firm that invests in a variety of industries.

MetaFund is a socially-conscious private equity firm that aims to see financial return as well as a positive impact on people and the environment.

SeedStep Angels aim to primarily invest in early-stage companies led by experienced management teams.

Square Deal Capital dabbles in several services, including investment, private equity, and real estate development.

 

Screening Meeting with the Angel Group: Are You Prepared?

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce offers a newsletter about major events and business news in the area.

The Journal Record, a primary source of business news in Oklahoma, offers daily e-mail updates as well as event alerts.

NewsOK, which is The Oklahoman’s branch focusing on news in Oklahoma City, offers several newsletters, including one on business headlines.

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Oklahoma City not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

San Diego, CaliforniaCincinnati, OhioPortland, OR


Rebecca Cox

Rebecca Cox is a seasoned international traveler and Digital Marketing Specialist at Intellithought. She executes social media and marketing strategies for Funding Sage, which provides valuable information, tools, and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.