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July 19, 2022 | Tom Ballard

OCAST launches new accelerators in Oklahoma, names new Executive Director

The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) has announced two of the three organizations that will manage the new “State of Oklahoma Business Accelerator Program” and its three accelerators.

In addition, the state agency also announced the appointment of Jennifer McGrail as its new Executive Director. She will succeed Michael Carolina who retired at the end of June after serving in the role since 2005.

OCAST said that well-known accelerator operator gener8tor will manage an Oklahoma City-based program, and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau will manage an accelerator for rural areas. The partner for the third program in Tulsa is still under review and will be announced soon.

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

Oklahoma Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization that gives a voice to Oklahoma’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities. As Oklahoma’s largest general farm organization with members in all 77 counties represented by 77 county Farm Bureaus, the organization’s work and efforts span all of agriculture as its team works to ensure Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers can focus on what they do best: growing and raising the most affordable, safe and abundant food in the world.

Ironically, the announcement came the same week that two representatives of the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers were attending last week’s “Cultivate Appalachia Bootcamp” organized by AgLaunch and held in Knoxville.

OCAST will be the state partner providing oversight and review of the program in conjunction with the Oklahoma Department 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.

OCAST is a state agency tasked with leading Oklahoma’s technology-based economic development efforts, supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs to transform promising innovations from concepts into commercial products.

McGrail comes to OCAST following more than four years as the Director of AXIS Powered by Francis Tuttle Technology Center, where she provided leadership, vision, and oversight for the pre-accelerator, state-certified business incubator, and entrepreneurial ecosystem building efforts.


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