Oklahoma Department of Commerce certifies incubators and assures standards of excellence. Since certifying incubators began, the State of Oklahoma has benefited from an increase in the number of start-up and expanding small businesses. These businesses have created jobs and enhanced economic activity in the Oklahoma communities in which they are located.
As 2018 began, Oklahoma had 31 certified incubators. Commerce certified one new incubator, Project 3810 in Oklahoma City. One incubator, Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada, closed in 2018 because the school decided to go a different direction with the space. As 2018 comes to a close, 31 certified small business incubators are operating in Oklahoma, with tenants ranging from small service companies to high-tech research and development operations and manufacturing entities.
During 2018, Oklahoma incubator managers were asked to complete a questionnaire to document their activities for the current reporting period. Based on the information received from the responding incubator managers, 119 small businesses are currently leasing space in Oklahoma’s small business incubators. These incubator tenants provide 827 full-time jobs.
Throughout the life of Oklahoma’s Certified Small Business Incubator Program, a total of 979 small businesses have located in a small business incubator. Of those, 503 have graduated from the program and relocated to a larger facility and 257 of those companies have remained in the state. The businesses that remained in the state report they currently employ 2,122 people. Commerce believes the incubator program will continue to contribute significantly to Oklahoma’s economy.
The Best Incubators Provide Services Such As:
• Flexible space and leases
• Office services and equipment
• An on-site incubator manager as a resource for business advice
• Exposure to a network of outside business and technical consultants, often providing accounting, marketing, engineering and legal advice
• Financing assistance
• Marketing assistance
Characteristics of Model Business Incubation Programs:
- Commit to the two core principles of business incubation
- Obtain consensus on a mission that defines the incubator’s role in the community and develop a strategic plan containing quantifiable objectives to achieve the program mission
- Structure for financial sustainability by developing and implementing a realistic business plan
- Recruit and appropriately compensate management capable of achieving the mission of the incubator and having the ability to help companies grow
- Build an effective board of directors committed to the incubator’s mission and to maximizing management’s role in developing successful companies
- Prioritize management time to place the greatest emphasis on client assistance, including proactive advising and guidance that results in company success and wealth creation
- Develop an incubator facility, resources, methods and tools that contribute to the effective delivery of business assistance to client firms and that address the developmental needs of each company
- Develop stakeholder support, including a resource network, that helps the incubation program’s client companies and supports the incubator’s mission and operations
- Maintain a management information system and collect statistics and other information necessary for ongoing program evaluation, thus improving a program’s effectiveness and allowing it to evolve with the needs of the clients
For the full report or to learn how to become certified visit: okcommerce.gov/business/incubators