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 $2.5 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 we work with entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout Oklahoma.
Tom Wavering joined OU in September 2016 as the founding Executive Director of the Tom Love Innovation Hub, a 20,000+ sq. ft. facility dedicated to increasing invention and entrepreneurship at OU and the broader community through programs, resources, and collaboration. Prior to founding the Tom Love Innovation Hub, Mr. Wavering was Vice President, Strategic Technologies for Intelligent Automation, Inc. (IAI). Mr. Wavering led IAI’s business development and technology transition efforts (e.g. license, product, spin-off, etc), grew IAI’s technology portfolio, and identified new growth areas. Before IAI, Mr. Wavering was Vice President, Technology Development for Luna Innovations and held various technology management positions as the company grew from 15 to more than 220 employees and went public.
Daniel Moses is our Small Business Programs Manager, and he is responsible for the day-to-day management and implementation of the Oklahoma Catalyst Programs. Prior to joining the Oklahoma Catalyst programs staff, Mr. Moses worked as the Program Manager for the OU Price College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship. In this role, Mr. Moses designed and launched the Sooner Innovation Fund: an early stage proof-of-concept program that gives OU students $5,000 and provides training and mentorship through the process of launching a business. Mr. Moses is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a Master of Arts in international studies with a specialization in economic development.
Kaitie Holland is the OK Catalyst Programs Fellow where she works with the OK Catalyst team to facilitate programs and events. Prior to joining the OK Catalyst team, Kaitie was the Special Programs Liaison and Research Fellow for the College of International Studies (CIS) where she created and launched the CIS Young Alumni Board and assisted with the creation of the Peace Corps Prep Program. She also serves on the board for training4changeS, a South Africa-based organization and as a Communications Fellow for Arrow Global Capital. Ms. Holland graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2016 with a Master of Arts in International Studies and Economic Development.
Anita Ly, a Small Business Graduate Assistant, is working on the Oklahoma Women impacting STEM & Entrepreneurship (OK-WISE) Conference and the Tinker Air Force SBIR/STTR and Department of Defense Vision Workshop. Prior to moving to Oklahoma to pursue her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma, Anita was an Associate Scientist at AbbVie Biotherapeutics in California.
Small Business Programs Coordinator
Austin Curnutt works as a graduate assistant overseeing the OK Catalyst Researchers program and the SBIR Business Accelerator. He is graduating summer 2019 with a master’s degree in chemical engineering. He has held internships with Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Valero Energy Corporation and is currently engaged in research at the OU Polymer and Surface Engineering Laboratories. He has spent time volunteering and working with Soonerthon and Camp Crimson and is the recipient of multiple scholarships through OU and the Gallogly College of Engineering.
Bailey Hollingsworth, our new Small Business Software Developer, is pursuing a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics. Bailey is leading the development of the OK Catalyst Opportunities platform. Before joining the OK Catalyst Programs staff, Bailey took part in several projects aimed to accelerate small businesses through his internships with The Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth as a Software Developer and later as the Technical Lead.
Small Business Associate
Blair Ashley oversees the OK Catalyst Road Show and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. She is a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and serves on their Public Relations Committee, which has given her experience in event planning and communications. She's also had experience as the Public Relations Coordinator for Sooner Scandals and has been involved in other on-campus organizations like OU Cousins and CAC Spark.
Small Business Associate
Addison Cox transferred to the University of Oklahoma from Oklahoma State University to pursue degrees in Entrepreneurship & New Venture Development and Management Information Systems. Addison is overseeing the OK Catalyst SBIR Accelerator program. Addison is also currently working at the OU Price College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship as the TA manager and holds a position as Vice President of Alumni Relations for her business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. She plans to use the knowledge she gains as a Small Business Assistant to help her family business and in the process of opening her own business one day.
Small Business Associate
Heily Maldonado, one of our new Small Business Assistants, is an undergraduate student studying Biology with an emphasis on pre-med. Heily is working on the Oklahoma Women impacting STEM & Entrepreneurship (OK-WISE) Conference and the Tinker Air Force SBIR/STTR and Department of Defense Vision Workshop. Heily has previously worked as a mentor in the Future Health Scientists Partnership Program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and holds executive positions in several on/off campus activities.
The Oklahoma Catalyst Programs have been made possible by the US Small Business Administration, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.