Beginning April 3, 2023, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce (Commerce) will begin accepting applications for the Oklahoma Innovation Expansion Program (OIEP). The program will make up to $15 million in funding available to qualifying companies across the state. The application period will close on Friday, April 14 at 5:00 p.m. The full program details and requirements are posted on the Commerce website at okcommerce.gov/OIEP. After submitted applications are reviewed, Commerce staff will reach out to eligible companies and will partner with the Oklahoma Finance Authority to administer the program.
Existing companies with new and innovative projects that lead to diversification, market expansion, or supply chain resiliency may apply for OIEP. The one-year program leverages payroll tax rebates with private sector investments that promote a diversified and growing economy. Awards will range between $25,000-$150,000 depending on the amount that is revenue positive to the state and the size of the company. In order to be eligible, no money may have been spent toward the project prior to being approved for funding.
To qualify, a company must have a minimum annual payroll of $625,000 with a minimum capital investment of $50,000. Projects must provide a net positive benefit for the state. When reviewing the applications, Commerce will take into consideration: amount of capital investment from the company; the ratio of private sector dollars leveraged from OIEP awards; number of existing jobs, number of projected new jobs, the average wages paid to employees, and the anticipated sales increase resulting from an expansion.
During the 2022 application period, Commerce received 163 submissions for project funding. Of those applications, 125 projects received awards ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 with the total awards funding reaching $9.241 million. The funding will facilitate $58.065 million in projects. These companies plan to create 767 jobs with a total payroll of $35.4 million. The types of businesses awarded range from aerospace parts manufacturers to food processing facilities, and each proposed project will make a significant impact on their operations, often including the creation of additional jobs.
The full list of 2022 OIEP recipients can be found on the Commerce website at www.okcommerce.gov/OIEP. OIEP utilizes funds from the Oklahoma Economic Development Pooled Finance Act (62 OS 891.1 et seq) and therefore companies must meet eligibility requirements outlined in the statute. A complete list of the program rules and eligibility are available at okcommerce.gov/oiep.
Participating businesses will be required to provide quarterly reports verifying employment levels and expenditures, as well as submit verification of purchase and installation of machinery and equipment.