WE ARE CATALYZING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN OKLAHOMA BY SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES
We believe that small businesses launching hi-tech companies are our best bet for solving many of the challenges facing Oklahoma and the nation. One of the best tools to help U.S. small businesses fund their research and development is the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) program: a $3.7 billion funding opportunity for small businesses to do technology-focused research and development.
Historically, Oklahoma small businesses have only won around $10M in SBIR funding annually. To put this number in perspective, consider that Texas won approximately $80M in SBIR funding in 2017 and California brought in $368M. Oklahoma can be better, and we are working to increase the amount of funding won by Oklahoma small businesses and grow the high-tech business community in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Catalyst Programs provide networking, training, and mentoring to entrepreneurs and small business owners in Oklahoma. We are located in Norman, Oklahoma at the Tom Love Innovation Hub on the University of Oklahoma Research Campus, but recently expanded our programs to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Mr. Wavering joined the University of Oklahoma in September 2016 as the founding Executive Director of the Tom Love Innovation Hub (I-Hub) with the mission to increase innovation and entrepreneurship across Oklahoma through a mix of resources, programs, services and collaborations. As a national expert in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, Mr. Wavering founded and leads the I-Hub’s statewide Oklahoma Catalyst Programs which provide SBIR-related networking, training and mentoring efforts across Oklahoma. In 2019, Wavering joined the faculty of the Price College of Business, creating and teaching the course “Entrepreneurship for Science and Technology.” Prior to OU, Mr. Wavering had 18 years of experience in the research, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies through various technical and executive leadership roles with Intelligent Automation, Inc. (IAI) in Rockville, MD and Luna Innovations in Blacksburg, VA and Charlottesville, VA.
Daniel is the founding Director of the Oklahoma Catalyst Programs and is responsible for the planning and execution of all OK Catalyst Programs activities. Prior to this role, Daniel was a Program Manager for the internationally recognized Tom Love Center for Entrepreneurship at OU. In this role, Daniel designed and launched the Sooner Innovation Fund: an endowed $1,250,000 early-stage proof-of-concept program that gives OU students up to $5,000 and provides mentorship and training on market validation. Daniel comes from a family of entrepreneurs and co-founded/managed a small business in college that became profitable within two years of opening. Daniel graduated from the OU College of International Studies with a Master of Arts in International Studies with an emphasis in economic development. Daniel is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and was able to access higher education thanks to the Gates-Millennium Scholarship.
Sarah is an associate with the OK Catalyst Programs where she plans and executes various programs, including the OK Catalyst Researchers and OK Catalyst SBIR Accelerator. Prior to joining the team, Sarah served for over ten years in the U.S. Air Force. Sarah is a native of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State and graduated with an MBA from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.
Maya is an associate with the Oklahoma Catalyst Programs, where she assists with developing and managing programs in the Tulsa area, such as OK Catalyst SBIR Accelerator. Previously, Maya supported the US Department of Veterans Affairs by helping veteran entrepreneurs become qualified for the Vets First Verification Program. Once part of this program, veterans had a unique opportunity to bid on VA set-aside contracts. Maya graduated from the university of Maryland School of Law.
Addison is an undergraduate Small Business Programs Associate. Addie graduated in December 2019 with degrees in Entrepreneurship & Venture Management and MIS. She has worked as a Technical Intern at Amazon Web Services (AWS), served as a Collegiate Board Ambassador for Great Nations Bank, studied environmental sustainability and architecture in Arezzo, Italy, and served as Vice President of Alumni Relations for her business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. She plans to use what she has learned at the Catalyst Programs to someday start a business of her own.
Small Business Commercialization Consultant
Lindsey Swope will be graduating in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. She is majoring in supply chain management and minoring in both finance and business healthcare. Lindsey has served as the Director of Business Development for Sooners Helping Sooners at the University of Oklahoma, studied abroad in Arezzo, Italy, participated in the First Fidelity Integrated Business Core Program, and was a student leader at Loveworks Leadership in Norman, OK. She plans on using her skills to give back to her community in her professional career.
NIH SBIR Accelerator GA
Anita is the NIH SBIR Accelerator team lead and is responsible for the planning and execution of this program designed to help clients win NIH SBIR funding. Prior to this role, Anita was the OK-WISE Conference Coordinator, overseeing the development and growth of the event. During this time, she helped raise over $20,000 in sponsorships, invited 62 local and national speakers, and successfully executed two 350+ attendee conferences. Before coming to Oklahoma for further education, Anita was an Associate Scientist at AbbVie Biotherapeutics in California where she grew up. Anita is currently an MBA Candidate with the Price College of Business at OU, a Price Scholar Awardee, and is also pursuing her M.Sc. in Biochemistry. She plans to utilize her MBA, M.Sc., and her experiences with the OK Catalyst Programs to start her own pharmaceutical someday.
Heily Maldonado-Esparza has worked on the annual Oklahoma Women Impacting STEM & Entrepreneurship (OK-WISE) Conference since December 2017. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Public Health at the University of Oklahoma. As an OU student, she participates in several on-campus organizations focused on community empowerment. She is also active in her community by volunteering on a weekly basis with several organizations such as the Norman Regional Hospital and Manos Juntas.
Kylie is the marketing and visual communications coordinator. She is a sophomore at OU majoring in Visual Communications and minoring in Art History. Kylie is responsible for the design and publication of social media posts and various print and digital design materials. She played the flute in the Pride of Oklahoma for two years and is currently a member of the Kappa Kappa Psi music service fraternity. After completing her undergrad she plans on pursuing a career in graphic design
The Oklahoma Catalyst Programs are a 100% grant funded organization. Primary sponsors include the US Small Business Administration, the Economic Development Ageny, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the Presbyterian Health Foundation, and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.