Jennifer Hankins, Tulsa Regional Chamber | Tulsa COG2019
Thank you all for having me today. I’m extremely excited to see everybody in this room and see Cain’s (Ballroom) so dressed up. I’ve never seen it this classy, it’s really great. (Audience laughter) That’s not an omen my weekends. But also recognizing that I am one of the last things standing between you all and that beautiful open bar in the back of the room. I promise to keep my comments very brief.
So, really just —and this is my only slide because that’s how I roll— but most of you are familiar with the Tulsa Regional Chamber. For those of you that aren’t, this is a slide that just kind of showcases our strategic initiatives at our organization. In our economic development division, — and thanks to our Tulsa’s Future program — I have a really great privilege of getting to work with a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses, and helping them succeed through programs like the Forge, which is our business incubator for high growth, early-stage companies. That was founded 10 years ago. 10 years ago, it’s incredible. And then also the Tulsa Small Business Connection, which is a suite of programming designed just for small business owners in our region.
Beyond that, though, we work tirelessly— and I know if any of you try to work with me, it’s often like a chicken with her head cut off at times — but we do work tirelessly to help advocate for all business needs in our region on multiple fronts. A couple of things we’re really proud of recently, thanks to local Representative Meloyde Blancett, if she’s in the room, and of course many of you with us here today. But we were able to advocate for and change our Small Employer Quality Jobs program so that all small businesses and small employers in our region can more easily and effectively take advantage of state incentives to help their companies grow. We also recently were able to work with the Oklahoma City Chamber. They are friends. We do go down the down the turnpike often to meet with them. But we worked really closely with them to also pass a cybersecurity and software engineering tax credit. And that’s also again, thanks to many of you in this room, especially —I can’t see Jerry Dawkins or William, but thank you for always answering our crazy phone calls in the middle of day asking if you could help us out on some things.
What’s happening today though, is something super exciting and extra special. A lot of my colleagues have already touched on it, but tech jobs, new economy jobs, added a staggering 1.4 million jobs since 2010. And that job growth is increasing at a rate 4% higher than the national average, sorry, four times higher than the national average. It’s finally kind of come to the crux that innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship are really driving the global economy. You guys can probably think of all of the buzz-worthy cities kind of in the country. What those cities have been able to successfully do is foster entrepreneurship and innovation, while seamlessly attracting talent and retaining it to really drive their regions forward. Today showcases, for me at least, that Tulsa is not to be left out of that equation, and that we are well on our way to being the next major hub of innovation.
And I think what I’m really most excited about and proud about of what’s and who’s in this room, is that we can continue to get there together. And we really look forward as the Tulsa Regional Chamber and just as a colleague and a friend to many of you in this room, I look forward to helping us kind of get there in the next level. So, just thank you all for being here today. Thank you, Clint, for letting us help and taking us to the next level. We really appreciate you all. Thank you.