By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2013, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
When your column falls on New Year’s Eve, there are really just two ways to go — predictions or resolutions.
For us at i2E, resolutions and predictions are part of the same plan.
Experience has taught us what does and doesn’t work. As we launch our 16th year of service to and investment in the innovation economy, we resolve:
1. To help build more deal flow in Oklahoma. Increasing the number, quality and momentum of entrepreneurial deals is the single most important thing that we can do in Oklahoma to create more jobs and wealth. One of the ways to do this is to increase our participation in accelerators — especially those that combine funding and advisory services.
2. To invest more capital in growing companies of all stages that create wealth for Oklahoma. i2E manages a range of funds — from concept to growth.
3. To encourage more people of all ages to consider entrepreneurship. In 2013, Forbes ranked Tulsa as the No. 1 city for young entrepreneurs and Oklahoma City as fifth. Oklahoma — not California, New York or Massachusetts — was the only city with two of the Top 10.
4. To enhance opportunities for college students to obtain authentic experiences with Oklahoma startups.
5. To seek efficient and effective ways to further expand our services into rural Oklahoma.
Our predictions — also based on our experience.
1. In 2014, we will help position at least 85 Oklahoma companies for funding. We expect a third or more of those firms will receive more than $25 million in private equity.
2. About two-thirds of our new clients are likely to survive five years or more — exceeding the national average by more than 40 percent.
3. The jobs created by these new companies will pay annual wages averaging more than $70,000. That’s more than 90 percent higher than the Oklahoma state average.
4. These new companies will obtain two-thirds of more of their revenue outside the state as their innovations bring dollars into Oklahoma.
When we opened our doors in 1998, there was a lot we didn’t know.
Today, after a decade and a half in the business of investing in and helping create entrepreneurial companies, we have the process, partnerships, services, and investment capital that have been proven to help new companies reduce risk and grow.
It’s New Year’s Eve — a time for party hats and noisemakers. As we celebrate the possibilities of 2014, let’s toast the spirit of entrepreneurship that is so much a part of Oklahoma’s DNA.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at [email protected].
Did You Know? Small businesses produce more patents per employee than large patenting firms and account for 24 percent of the patents in the top 100 emerging clusters. SOURCE: SBA Office of Advocacy