OCAST Announces Accelerator Program Partners, New Executive Director - 405 Magazine

OCAST Announces Accelerator Program Partners, New Executive Director

Along with naming the companies managing the new State of Oklahoma Business Accelerator Program, OCAST also recently announced Jennifer McGrail as the new executive director.

Along with naming the companies managing the new State of Oklahoma Business Accelerator Program, OCAST also recently announced Jennifer McGrail as the new executive director.

The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology recently announced the companies to manage the new State of Oklahoma Business Accelerator Program.

The program is designed to create a business accelerator program, which will create jobs and help grow Oklahoma companies. A total of three accelerators will be established: one in Oklahoma City will be administered by gener8tor, one for rural areas of the state driven by Oklahoma Farm Bureau and a third in Tulsa. The Tulsa accelerator partner is still under review and will be announced soon.

Oklahoma City accelerator:

The venture capital firm, gener8tor, brings together startup founders, investors, corporations, job seekers, universities, musicians and artists. The gener8tor platform includes more than 75 programs spanning startup accelerators, corporate programming, speaker series, conferences, skills accelerators and fellowships.

Rural accelerator:

Oklahoma Farm Bureau works with Oklahoma’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities and advocates for Oklahoma agriculturalists. As Oklahoma’s largest general farm organization with members in all 77 counties represented by 77 county Farm Bureaus, their work and efforts span the agriculture industry.

“As Oklahomans, we understand the role that main-street businesses play in our small towns and rural communities,” said Rodd Moesel, Oklahoma Farm Bureau. ”Our goal is to spur the growth of Oklahoma agricultural businesses involving food processing and value-added businesses that utilize Oklahoma agricultural products. Through this program and strategic partnership with the AgLaunch farmer centric network, we hope to help expand and support new agricultural production technologies, equipment and services to address needs in fertilizer and crop inputs, drones and crop scouting, record keeping and management. Additionally, we hope to encourage and support new or expanding manufacturing and service businesses across Oklahoma to help produce jobs and income to stimulate growth in our rural communities.”

OCAST will be the state partner and is responsible for oversight and review of the program in conjunction with the Oklahoma Depar`tment of Commerce. In 2021, the State Legislature appropriated a total of 15 million dollars towards the program. All money expended require matching funds and create a public/private partnership worth a total of $30 million.

“We are striving to keep Oklahoma moving forward in technology and economic development,” said Elizabeth Hutt Pollard, Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Innovation. “These accelerators and partnerships with gener8tor and Oklahoma Farm Bureau are a significant investment in our state’s business ecosystem. It is a tremendous step in fostering new innovation, creating jobs for Oklahomans, and diversifying our economy, not just in the metro areas, but across the state.”

Jennifer McGrail new OCAST executive director

Pollard and the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research Board of Directors recently named Jennifer McGrail as OCAST executive director. McGrail comes to OCAST following more than four years as the Director of AXIS Powered by Francis Tuttle Technology Center.

“Jennifer has provided visionary leadership, mentoring and connections to client companies through her extensive work developing business incubators and accelerators in Oklahoma,” Pollard said. “She has formed strong and beneficial relationships across the state that are critical to furthering our innovation ecosystem. To continue executing the State’s 2021-2026 Science and Innovation Strategic Plan and to ensure alignment through my cabinet, OCAST, and the entire Oklahoma innovation ecosystem, I have asked Jennifer McGrail to serve as my Deputy Secretary of Science and Innovation for Oklahoma. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work more closely with Jennifer in this capacity.”