The funds are aimed at boosting the university’s capacity to support regional economic development strategies in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The new Tom Love Innovation Hub OU Startup Programs, funded through the Economic Development Administration, the University of Oklahoma and donors, connects a holistic pipeline for accelerating technology commercialization, venture creation and startup growth through training and support of University of Oklahoma-affiliated ventures at the early critical stages of their lifecycle,” said Tom Wavering, I-HUB executive director and entrepreneurship faculty member.
OU’s I-HUB, a current EDA University Center grantee and part of the Michael F. Price College of Business, is one of the more than 850 existing, high-performing EDA Economic Development District, University Center, Tribal and Revolving Loan Fund grant recipients invited to apply for supplemental funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
OU will use the funding to support a suite of startup programs, including the launch of a new startup incubator at the I-HUB in the heart of the OU Norman’s Research Campus. While most programs will be based out of Norman, they will be available to the OU Health Sciences Center and the OU-Tulsa campus as well, according to Wavering.
OU’s new I-Hub Startup Programs include four primary efforts:
- Sooner Startup is the “one-stop shop” for anyone in the OU community (students, faculty, alumni, etc.) interested in launching a business. Sooner Startup provides entrepreneurial support and connects aspiring entrepreneurs to relevant activities across the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Sooner Innovation Fund provides grants of $500 to $5,000 to help OU students transform ideas into reality. Sooner Innovation Fund supports testing the feasibility and marketability of student ideas, products and services.
- Sooner Launchpad accelerator is a four-week program of intensive training and customer discovery to rapidly assess the viability of the business and the founders.
- Sooner Incubator is a one-year program to provide mentoring, access to key resources and dedicated I-HUB space to mature promising startups. The Sooner Incubator will culminate in an annual Pitch/Demo Day in which incubator graduates present their startups and the next round of Sooner Incubator participants are announced.
In awarding the CARES Act funds to OU, Secretary of State Wilber Ross stated, “The Trump Administration is eager to allocate these essential CARES Act funds and deliver on our promise to help American communities recover from the impact of COVID-19. I am proud of the perseverance and strength shown by our communities coast to coast throughout this pandemic, and these funds will help provide Oklahoma with the necessary resources to make a swift and lasting economic comeback.”
“This investment comes at a crucial time to help Oklahoma’s and our nation’s economy come roaring back and provide hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, who is performing the delegated duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “We are pleased to make this investment in the Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by accelerating innovation and the growth of new startups through training and support at every stage.”
The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
About the Michael F. Price College of Business
The Michael F. Price College of Business has experienced significant growth over the past five years in the number of faculty, staff and students and has become OU’s second-largest college, with more than 4,900 students. The college offers undergraduate, master’s, executive and doctoral programs across six academic divisions in Accounting, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Finance, Management and International Business, Management Information Systems, and Marketing and Supply Chain Management. The college’s Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business is a 27,000-square-foot facility located in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Innovation District and is home to the college’s full-time and professional MBA programs, as well as the Executive MBA in Aerospace and Defense and the Graduate Certificate in Aerospace and Defense.
The Price College of Business’s website is price.ou.edu and the Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business’s website is ou.edu/price/mba.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit www.ou.edu.