Silicon Valley-based firm partners with Tulsa Regional Chamber.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber in October convened about a dozen of its corporate members to demonstrate how they can benefit from Mind the Bridge (MTB), a Silicon Valley-based innovation advisory firm.
Seeking to foster a sustainable global entrepreneurial ecosystem, Mind the Bridge focuses on connecting corporations, governments and start-up companies to enhance their collective growth.
Arthur Jackson, the Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development, was the meeting’s facilitator.
“There are a lot of synergies that we can use through their programming to leverage growth not in a business attraction sense but in the business retention and expansion sense,” he said. “That’s what I consider the most important piece of economic development. It’s not necessarily bringing in and recruiting new companies. It’s taking care of home base first.”
Marco Marinucci, founder and CEO of Mind the Bridge, gave an overview of the platform, which uses “open innovation” to solve problems. Open innovation is a term used to promote an information age mindset that runs counter to the secrecy and silo mentality of traditional corporate research labs.
“What the start-ups are there for is typically to look for potential cooperation with corporates around the world,” Marinucci said. “What corporates are there for is to look for solutions from start-ups around that world that can fit a very specific issue.”
The Chamber in March formed its Technology Council, a collaboration of local tech start-ups. By networking at periodic meetings sponsored by the Chamber, the group identified several needs: better promotion of the sector and more access to adequate venture capital and other sources of revenue.
“We quickly realized that they (MTB members) can address all three of those through their programs,” said Jackson, whose economic development team first reached out to MTB during a marketing trip to the Bay Area in the spring.
About 10 local tech start-ups already are using the MTB platform. The October meeting served to introduce it to some of Tulsa’s largest companies, a segment of which were in attendance.
One of MTB’s clients is Enel, which was represented virtually at the gathering by Giovanni Bertolino, CEO of 3Sun USA (Enel Group). Enel North America this year announced plans to build a $1 billion facility to manufacture solar panels at the Tulsa Port of Inola.