The Innovation Foundation at OSU receives $650,000 grant to expand commercialization
Monday, October 9, 2023
Harrison Hill | Senior Research Communications Specialist | 405-744-5827 | [email protected]
The Innovation Foundation at Oklahoma State University has been awarded a $650,000
grant from the United States Economic Development Agency’s University Center’s program.
This five-year grant will enable The Innovation Foundation and its Cowboy Innovation
Accelerator program to provide commercialization expertise to northeastern Oklahoma
by providing commercial grant assistance to startup companies aligned with the state’s
three key industry sectors — energy, aerospace & autonomous systems, and biotechnology
and life sciences including OSU’s One Health focus.
“The Innovation Foundation at OSU focuses on maximizing applied research and the
commercialization of innovation. The return allows for further investment in research
and development at OSU and across our state,” said Elizabeth Pollard, executive director
of The Innovation Foundation. “This new award will allow The Innovation Foundation
and its Cowboy Innovation Accelerator the ability to expand its commercial grant assistance
to innovation-based startup companies in the northeastern region of Oklahoma.”
The Innovation Foundation will work closely with business incubators, accelerators,
economic development agencies and tribal governments within the six-county region
to market the services provided by the Northeast Oklahoma Business Development Hub:
Creek County, Pawnee County, Tulsa County, Osage County, Payne County and Washington
“One of the project’s primary objectives is to provide innovation-based commercialization
assistance to startup companies, entrepreneurs and innovators within disadvantaged
communities and tribal land,” said Daniel Will, co-principal investigator and executive
director of Cowboy Enterprises, a division of The Innovation Foundation. “The communities
make up nearly 90% of the target region.”
Commercial grants are an essential tool for startup companies, allowing them to progress
their proof-of-concept technologies toward commercially viable products or services.
Read the full release
“These grants commonly take on the form of non-dilutive capital,” said John Nickel,
principal investigator and assistant director of Cowboy Enterprises. “Non-dilutive
capital is important at early development stages to then be able to attract angel
or venture capital equipment investment to scale their startup company.”
Commercial grants are offered in several ways, with the most common being Small Business
Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants offered by 11 federal
agencies including the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, National
Institute of Health, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, among others.
In 2023, these 11 agencies collectively allocated $3.9 billion in non-dilutive commercialization
grants to small businesses across the country, aptly giving them the name “America’s
“Historically though, Oklahoma businesses have struggled to access these funds,” Nickel
said. “Oklahoma is ranked 34th among all states in terms of both the number of awards
received and total award funding.
On average, Oklahoma receives just 26 SBIR/STTR awards annually.
The Innovation Foundation aims to change that and increase Oklahoma’s commercialization
awards by providing startup companies with resources to help them secure awards including:
Learn more online about The Innovation Foundation at Oklahoma State University and its initiatives.