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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
OIE Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)



Oklahoma City, OK

Project Name

i2E Venture Assessment Program Expansion



Award Amount


The project region approximates the eastern half of Oklahoma and includes 39 of the state’s 77 counties. In the rural counties included, the average household income is 16 percent lower than the average household income in the urban counties of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The discrepancy becomes larger for American Indian households. The average household income for American Indians in the targeted counties is 22 percent lower than the average household income in the State’s two urban centers.

Project partners include the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Muscogee (Creek) Nations; the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. The goal is to expand i2E’s Venture Assessment Program (VAP) to target Oklahoma’s rural and Native American entrepreneurs and companies. The VAP is a three-week, proof-of-concept curriculum designed to investigate the product-market fit and the financial viability of a new, innovative product or concept. Objectives are to identify a potential market, estimate the market size, determine a preliminary value of the opportunity, and make an assessment of whether the concept offers sufficient profit potential to pursue additional investment of time and money. The outcome of the VAP is a “go/no-go” decision by the company and an outline of next steps for commercialization where there is a “go” decision.

This project will provide a proven approach to identify and assist entrepreneurs and startup businesses that have an innovative concept, product or service that could develop into a high-growth business in rural Oklahoma, particularly within Oklahoma’s Native American tribes. The overall purpose of the project is to achieve four major outcomes over time: (1) Identify and reach underserved Native and rural entrepreneurs and untapped sources of innovation; (2) Promote and accelerate the commercialization of new technologies, innovation, and research into viable high growth companies; (3) Increase regional connectivity to develop a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in rural Oklahoma; and, (4) Assist in the diversification of the state’s rural economy.