Tulsa, Oklahoma - The federal government has officially recognized Tulsa as a tech hub, making it eligible for $75 million in funding to grow its tech industry further. The designation is part of a $500 million investment in strengthening the country's economic and national security.
Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL) led the proposal for the designation, which was supported by nearly 50 organizations in the Tulsa region. The proposal focused on developing Tulsa as a global leader in equitable and trustworthy autonomous systems (TEAS).
TEAS is a rapidly growing field with wide-ranging applications, from self-driving cars to medical robots to automated manufacturing systems. TIL believes that Tulsa is uniquely positioned to lead the way in developing TEAS that are safe, reliable, and accessible to everyone.
"This tech hub designation is a tremendous validation of the hard work and dedication of Tulsa's tech community," said Jennifer Hankins, managing director of TIL. "It also represents a significant opportunity to accelerate our growth and become a global leader in TEAS."
If Tulsa is awarded the $75 million grant, it will be used to fund a variety of initiatives, including: Developing new educational programs and training opportunities to prepare the workforce for TEAS jobs; Supporting the development of TEAS startups and early-stage companies; Attracting and retaining top talent in the field; Promoting Tulsa as a global destination for TEAS innovation.
"The tech hub designation is a game-changer for Tulsa," said Karen Pennington, president and CEO of Madison Strategies Group. "It puts us on the map as a major player in the tech industry and opens up new opportunities for our community."
The designation is also expected to have a significant impact on the Tulsa economy. TIL estimates that the grant could create up to 200,000 new jobs in the region over the next decade.
"The tech hub designation is a defining moment for Tulsa," said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. "It's a chance to create a new future for our city, one that is built on innovation, economic opportunity, and equity."
Additional Context: The tech hub designation is part of the Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Regional Tech Hubs program. The program is designed to support the development of regional innovation clusters in key technology industries. Tulsa is one of 31 tech hubs designated by the EDA in 2023. The other designees are located in 25 states and the District of Columbia. The EDA will award up to $75 million to five of the 31 designees in a second round of competition. The second round applications are due at the end of February 2023.
The designation is a significant step forward for Tulsa's tech industry and is expected to have a major impact on the city's economy in the years to come.