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Grow Your Business in Oklahoma

Useful Information from the Roundtable

History of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable

The Oklahoma Business Roundtable was formed in 1991 to provide greater support for Oklahoma’s statewide economic development program.

The Roundtable concept was suggested by then Governor David Walters, who felt that an aggressive economic development program would require additional private sector funding support. The Governor reviewed “best practices” efforts by other states and initially suggested a model used by the State of Mississippi.

At its onset, the organization’s mission was to promote and advance the economic development of the State of Oklahoma.

Support was targeted to activities that created new jobs and investment throughout the state – through business start-up, expansion and recruitment. Roundtable funds were made available for enhanced marketing, travel and hosting activities where state appropriated funds were not available or could not be used. Program funds were directed to the economic development work of state leaders, the Department of Commerce and community partners.

The charter formation meeting was held at the Governor’s Mansion on April 4, 1991 – attended by the Governor, several CEO’s and state commerce officials.  Initial organizational bylaws were approved and it was agreed that annual dues be set at $5,000. It was agreed that the Roundtable would meet just twice annually – in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Seven companies became charter members of the 501 c (6) non-profit, non-partisan corporation

Oklahoma City businessman and civic leader, Stanton Young, served as the first Chairman. Donald D. Paulsen was selected as the President. Paulsen was former Manager at Fife Corporation in Oklahoma City and former Oklahoma Commerce Department Director under Governor Henry Bellmon.  

To date, the Roundtable has provided support for hundreds of projects, including domestic and international marketing, promotion and trade efforts, new business start-up and entrepreneur programs and corporate expansions/new locations. In the past year alone, the Roundtable and its partners have supported efforts to create nearly $3 billion in investment and over 5700 jobs.

The Role of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable

  • Provide financial and management support to State leadership and various partners engaged in economic development activities. 

  • Convene and participate in strategic planning and listen sessions with industry partners, along with state leaders to help support and grow various business sectors in Oklahoma.

  • Promote and support new business investment throughout Oklahoma, including start-up, expansion and attraction of business facilities and operations.

  • Provide financial support for trade shows, trade missions, meetings, seminars, targeted research studies, marketing campaigns, trade and investment missions and other domestic and global promotional activities that are essential to Oklahoma’s growth and development.

  • Help share the cost of recruitment and prospect travel and associated proposal development.

  • Promote special projects related to statewide site development, supply chain growth and entrepreneurship. 

  • Provide membership with ongoing information about economic development projects and activities we are investing and participating in. 

Helpful Links for Doing Business in Oklahoma

Role of OBR
Helpful Links

Join the Oklahoma Business Roundtable

We are the only statewide economic development organization focused solely on advancing Oklahoma’s economy through business retention, expansion, new business start-up, recruitment and workforce development.


We provide needed private funding for promotion and assistance to programs to help job investment and expansion.


We serve as a depository for private funds to be used for strategic economic development efforts.

Member benefits:

Networking with business colleagues and top state government leaders in small, non-partisan gatherings.

Increased customer base due to growth of economy and jobs in Oklahoma.

Educational or professional events/opportunities related to workforce and economic development.

Questions? Call us at (405) 235-3787

Oklahoma's Future is Bright
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