Greater Oklahoma City is in the geographic center of North America equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. The ten county region is at the crossroads of the U.S., sitting at the heart of three major national highways on the NAFTA corridor.
There's a reason Greater Oklahoma City is such a great place for business: Location. The ten county region is positioned within a day's drive of the rapidly-growing south-central region (OK, TX, AR, LA) projected to grow more than 44% during the next 25 years.
I felt a sense of Oklahoma pride as 300 professional fund managers and economic development officers from across the nation gathered in our state last month for the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds annual conference.
Led by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and a coalition of local organizations, the NASVF brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state's economy and delivered an encouraging message to Oklahoma innovators and entrepreneurs.
The three-day conference focused on the significance of making angel capital and seed funds available to entrepreneurial startup companies.
This is an important topic since many startup companies are developing new products that are in too early of a stage to be underwritten by bank financing, so they must find risk capital to survive. This type of money typically comes from the region where the company resides; therefore private angel investors and seed funds need to be cultivated locally to grow these promising small businesses.
By the conference's adjournment, best practices and investment strategies were shared in dozens of breakout sessions. Participants learned that "deal flow" remains strong, meaning the number of new entrepreneurial business opportunities has maintained a steady pace during our nation's economic challenges.
For Oklahoma, this national conference was a huge success - attendance, speakers, topics covered and especially increased visibility for Oklahoma on the investing landscape.
Oklahoma has another opportunity to showcase itself this month at the Oklahoma Venture Forum's Bricktown Capital Conference and the Venture of the Year awards dinner. Oklahoma companies making investor presentations represent a wide range of innovation, from computerized exercise equipment to high-tech legal document software to a medical technology to cure hearing loss.
It all goes to show that the deal flow pipeline in Oklahoma remains strong and is attracting national attention from savvy investors.
Oklahoma entrepreneurs, start your pitches.
Did you know?
Last month, the U.S. Department of Commerce created the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to maximize the economic potential of new ideas. The office will focus specifically on issues critical to the creation and development of entrepreneurship ecosystems that will generate new businesses and jobs. Result? Increased local support for Oklahoma researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.