TULSA, OK – June 21, 2023 – Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL), a nonprofit organization that aims to catalyze a thriving and inclusive innovation economy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, today released its first-ever impact report, Tulsa’s Path to Inclusive Growth. The report reveals TIL’s total projected economic impact based on a comprehensive, independent analysis of its first 14 initiatives, which represent $215 million in initial funding deployed to accelerate the city’s ongoing transformation into a tech hub. TIL’s initiatives are designed to support workforce development, enable the growth of startups, ignite academic innovation, and cultivate local talent across the four sectors that Tulsa has prioritized for tech-related growth - virtual health, energy tech, advanced air mobility and cyber.
The TIL impact report coincides with the four-year anniversary of TIL’s “Tulsa’s Tech Niche,” the first tech-led economic development strategy in Tulsa’s history. The report uses data from existing programs as well as broader labor market statistics to project the forthcoming impact of TIL initiatives as far out as eight years. The projections indicate that TIL is poised to drive significant and inclusive growth in the Tulsa region in the coming years.
Key findings include:
- TIL is on pace to create or place up to 10,000 tech-related jobs in eight years;
- Job growth from TIL is estimated to increase Tulsa’s tech employment by 5% annually;
- TIL is creating good jobs that pay an annual average wage of $67,000 - more than both the national and Tulsa average income;
- 53% of all jobs being created by TIL are accessible without a bachelor’s degree;
- TIL initiatives are poised to catalyze more than $1 billion in additional public and private capital; and
- in the next eight years, TIL initiatives will draw nearly 150 new companies to the Tulsa region.
“From the start, TIL has focused on positioning Tulsa as a national model for inclusive, tech-led growth for mid-sized cities across the country,” said Nicholas Lalla, founder and managing director of Tulsa Innovation Labs. “These findings offer tangible evidence that we are well on our way to achieving this goal and to establishing a thriving and inclusive tech niche for the region. This tremendous progress is thanks to the hard work of the TIL team, the dedication of our partners, and the immense support from the Tulsa community. We are encouraged by our projected impact, and we are turning our focus now to implementation – ensuring our initiatives achieve the outcomes they were designed to produce: Create and expand access to opportunities for all Tulsans.”
Since launching in 2020, TIL has led successful initiatives to drive momentum toward an inclusive innovation economy in Tulsa. TIL led the cross-sector coalition that secured $38.2 million federal funding for the Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility (TRAM) Cluster from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Additionally, TIL has partnered with higher-ed organizations, such as Tulsa Community College, on initiatives like the Cyber Skills Center, a 24-week training program for Tulsans to learn the skill sets for jobs in cyber security and data analytics.
TIL also spearheaded the effort to create EIC Rose Rock, a venture fund that invests in seed and early-stage energy technology companies. Energy Innovation Capital (EIC), which focuses on building innovative technologies and businesses to optimize and future-proof the energy sector, operates the fund, and backers include the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Devon, ONEOK, and Williams.
"Tulsa Innovation Labs, like Tulsa Community College, believes in building a thriving economy for all Tulsans," said Dr. Leigh Goodson, president and CEO of Tulsa Community College. “One example of this innovative work is our partnership on the Cyber Skills Center, allowing Tulsans a chance to overcome obstacles and learn new tech skills to secure better jobs. The first group to complete data analytics or cybersecurity training has seen great success with many of the participants finding immediate opportunities. With the second group of students started, we look forward to continued success with our partners at TIL.”
The report also identifies areas of improvement, laying out four action items for TIL to monitor, evaluate, and learn from its initiatives to drive sustained impact for years to come. TIL is committed to seeing even greater success in the Tulsa region, focusing on further driving an inclusive workforce and becoming a global leader in the tech industry, having a high-impact for Tulsans and beyond.
To learn more, read the full impact report here.
About Tulsa Innovation Labs
Recognizing that the jobs of the future are rooted in a thriving innovation economy, TIL was founded with support from the George Kaiser Family Foundation to lead a city-wide strategy for inclusive, tech-led growth. Working with partners from across sectors, we design and launch economic and workforce development initiatives in four emerging tech clusters, what we collectively call “Tulsa’s Tech Niche”: Virtual health, energy tech, advanced air mobility, and cyber. Our initiatives aim to support the growth of start-ups, train diverse talent, and spur academic innovation aligned to these clusters.