As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) has received up to $81.6 million in U.S. Treasury/State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding to enhance access to capital for startups and small businesses in Oklahoma. With the SSBCI funds, OCAST has created two new programs: the Oklahoma Venture Capital Investment program and the Oklahoma Business Lending Partnership program. Additionally, OCAST has secured additional funding to provide Technical Assistance to Oklahoma innovators.
A portion of Oklahoma’s SSBCI allocation will benefit very small businesses, those employing fewer than ten employees, along with businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantage individuals, those in underserved populations and rural Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Venture Capital Investment Program (OVCI)
The Oklahoma Venture Capital Investment program is set to strengthen the state’s economy and incentivize the growth of private venture capital in Oklahoma by investing nearly $49 million of SSBCI dollars in Oklahoma based venture funds. Through an open request for proposals, OCAST will award SSBCI dollars to Oklahoma based venture funds for the purpose of making investments in Oklahoma based innovation companies. Selected venture funds will be required to match every dollar of federal funds with a minimum of a dollar of matching private investment capital.
Boyd Street Ventures is an Oklahoma-based venture capital firm that supports innovative startups in the region through investment and strategic guidance.
Cortado Ventures is an Oklahoma-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage and growth-stage technology companies, aiming to foster innovation and drive economic development in the region. In addition to their regular portfolio, Cortado Ventures in partnership with Oklahoma Farm Bureau will also be offering a special targeted investment fund for companies located in rural communities. Oklahoma Farm Bureau brings the needs of business in rural communities across the state to this investment collaboration.
The Oklahoma Life Science Fund provides financial resources to promising companies involved in areas such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and healthcare services. The fund aims to drive innovation, foster collaboration, and accelerate the growth of life science ventures in Oklahoma by offering capital, expertise, and strategic guidance.
FortySix Venture Capital is an Oklahoma-based venture capital firm that specializes in early-stage technology startups. They provide financial support, mentorship, and strategic guidance to innovative companies, helping them scale and succeed.
Oklahoma Business Lending Partnership Program (OBLP)
The Oklahoma Business Lending Partnership Program will provide up to $32.7 million in nondilutive loans. These loans will be administered through TEDC Creative Capital.
TEDC Creative Capital is a community development financial institution providing financial resources, mentorship, and business support to artists, entrepreneurs, and cultural organizations to help them grow and thrive. TEDC will have the ability to make direct loans or partner with other Oklahoma based banks to deliver the OBLP program.
SSBCI Technical Assistance Partnership Program
The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) is currently selecting partners to provide legal, accounting, and financial advisory services to SEDI small businesses and VSBs. All providers will have demonstrated capacity to support communities with lack of access to capital, strengthen distressed communities through local lending and capacity building, build equitable economic prosperity while cultivating a generational pipeline of wealth, familiarity with technical assistance service for federal lending programs, and capacity to provide indicated technical assistance services.
The overarching goal is to prepare SEDI- and VSB-based companies for application to Oklahoma’s SSBCI capital programs, state programs, and other federal programs. The technical assistance will include a mixture of courses, deep-dive sessions, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching. OCAST will host outreach and training events and provide mentoring and coaching services to meet the needs of underserved and very small businesses, connecting them directly with services.
Oklahoma SSBCI Quick Facts
- 100% of SSBCI funds allocated to Oklahoma will remain in Oklahoma
- SSBCI dollars for investments and for loans require $1 for $1 match of private capital and a 10X minimum return
- Investments can be as large as $20M (federal funds plus private match), but the target for no more than $5M total
- Loans may also reach $20M total, but $500K is the preferred maximum (federal funds plus private match)
- $16.6M of the SSBCI funds must be dedicated to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI)-owned businesses
- $4.1M must be dedicated to very small businesses (VSB) – 10 employees or less
- Investment companies selected by OCAST through an RFP process will be responsible for making direct investments in Oklahoma small businesses (less than 100 people) using SSBCI dollars matched at least 1:1 with private capital
- Selected lending organizations will extend loans to small Oklahoma businesses using SSBCI funds matched with private capital dollar for dollar
- OCAST will not make direct investments or loans
- OCAST will only make fund to fund investments with the SSBCI dollars in Oklahoma investment companies managing an investment fund
- OCAST will only award SSBCI capital for lending through CDFIs, and local banks
U.S. Treasury Links
Question on SSBCI guidelines and Treasury policy.
U.S. Treasury’s SSBCI FAQs.