O’Connor: Momentum continues for OKC entrepreneursPublished: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 By: Cathy O'Connor Source: The Journal Record
Next week, Oklahoma City will launch another resource for local entrepreneurs. gBeta Oklahoma City will start a seven-week mentorship program to help five startup companies identify and secure resources for fundraising, company organization, marketing, e-commerce and other customer acquisition plans. The free program is created by the national startup accelerator gener8tor. Participating entrepreneurs will be mentored and coached by investors, seasoned founders and subject matter experts who will provide programming for learning sessions and pitch development. The program received high interest, with a number of startups applying.
gBeta joins the growing list of local support for startups and entrepreneurs. Other entrepreneur mentorship programs and resources, many of which have launched in the last 10 years, include Stitch Crew, Creative Oklahoma’s Entrepreneurship Mentoring Program, Progress OKC Business Advisory Services, 1 Million Cups, Tom Love Innovation Hub, SCORE, Launch Pad at Francis Tuttle, the Community Action Agency, SBA small business centers and many others. Funding and financing has been an area identified for growth, and there are many new resources for investment capital or low interest loans through i2E, KIVA OKC lending program, OCAST, the SBA and more. Together, these programs expand our ability to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in Oklahoma City, a key piece of our economic development strategy.
The passing of MAPS 4 was key to the further development of the Innovation District that will include a new Innovation Hall to serve as a central place where activities to grow our city’s innovation economy can be facilitated. Activities like coding training for all ages; versatile space for meetings and events related to innovation and entrepreneurship; and pop-up spaces for entrepreneurs to showcase new ideas and build connections. The redevelopment of the Henrietta B. Foster Center into a Minority Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center will provide supportive services for entrepreneurs while giving new life to this historic building. The district will continue its public input sessions to gather opinions about what is needed to help entrepreneurship and innovation flourish.
Oklahoma City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider adopting the Innovation District Land Use Plan as an amendment to the City’s comprehensive plan on Thursday, September 23, at 1:30 p.m. in City Council chambers, 200 N. Walker Ave, 3rd Floor. The meeting is open to the public. See the meeting agenda at https://www.okc.gov/departments/city-clerk/meetings.
Cathy O’Connor is president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.