In 2020, it was announced that Oklahoma City and Tulsa, alongside Northwest Arkansas, St. Louis and Wichita, were selected for the Rise of the Rest® Road Trip event which would have brought Steve Case, Revolution Chairman and CEO, and other influential investors to the state for a pitch competition. The in-person pitch competition was postponed due to Covid-19 and has shifted to online applications for 2021. Oklahoma-based startups from any industry are eligible to apply in either Oklahoma City or Tulsa. One startup from each location will be selected to receive a $100,000 investment from the Rise of the Rest seed fund.
During the 2021 session, the Oklahoma Legislature enacted SB 915 (Oklahoma Back a Business Program) and SB 922 (Invest in Oklahoma Act) to provide encourage more capital into the ecosystem. Additionally, funds have been allocated to create accelerators in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and rural areas of the state. Combined, these efforts are supporting more founders, more funders, and a more robust entrepreneurial ecosystem to provide a sustained and innovative economy in the state of Oklahoma.
“We have increased our focused on establishing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting a number of initiatives to grow and expand our startup economy,” said Brent Kisling, Executive Director, Oklahoma Department of Commerce. “Rise of the Rest is another opportunity to grow and support our innovative startup community. I hope numerous businesses take advantage of this incredible opportunity and throw their hats into the ring.”
Rise of the Rest is a nationwide effort to highlight and invest in entrepreneurs in cities outside of the traditional startup ecosystems on the coasts.