The Oklahoma Small Business Development Center recently celebrated 35 years of serving Oklahoma’s small businesses and entrepreneurs on with a program and open house held at the State Office on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University has served as the host for the statewide program since 1984. Program participants included Southeastern President Sean Burrage, RUSO Regent Amy Ford, Southeastern President Emeritus Larry Minks, and Small Business Administration District Director Dottie Overal. Three clients — Michael Morford, Dean Stockton, and Kaymon Farmer — provided a brief presentation on the impact OKSBDC has had on their businesses.
“It was a great day for OKSBDC as we celebrated 35 years of serving Oklahoma businesses,” OKSBDC State Director Michele Campbell said. “We are excited about having a history of helping grow Oklahoma’s economy through job creation and retention, capital infusion, and business starts and expansion. And, we look forward to the future as we are expanding into new initiatives such as services that include cyber security and connecting clients with innovative products and technology with the United States Department of Defense.”
OKSBDC has the knowledge, tools and resources to help Oklahoma businesses with no-cost, confidential consulting to help Oklahoma’s businesses start, sustain or expand.
Assistance is provided at locations all over the state and includes services such as agri-business, business disruption management, obtaining business financing, business training, business startup, buying or selling a business, expansion and growth, government contracting, financial analysis and cash flow management, e-commerce, international trade, human resources, marketing and sales, market and industry research, strategic planning, and technology commercialization.
For more information regarding services, contact OKSBDC at 580-745-2877 or visit the website at www.oksbdc.org.
In the last five years, OKSBDC has evolved. The number of partnerships across the state has increased during a time when budgets are being cut. OKSBDC has been creative with engaging partners that have goals that align with job creation, job retention, starting businesses, and infusing capital into the economy. In addition to SBA, those partners include career tech systems, a consortium model with entities who support or are engaged in economic development, and most recently, those entities engaged in innovation and technology for our State.
The activity in the network in the area of innovation has been pivotal. Last year, OKSBDC had the opportunity to take part in an activity with the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the FBI where OKSBDC clients were given the opportunity to submit their innovative products in a pitch event to tech scouts from those divisions of our government. Five clients with six products made the cut to pitch their product and continue to be socialized through these entities. Oklahoma made a strong showing last year and the tech scouts were impressed with not only the clients but the OKSBDC business advisors who were coaching them in the process.
Those products included water reparation equipment, gunsmithing products, apps, medical devices, among others. Those products are sometimes products the warfighter or Homeland Security needs when applied in other settings. Who doesn’t want to help the warfighter or help our government in situations where Homeland Security or the FBI has a role. Fast forward to now and the OKSBDC has tripled the number of clients who are getting in front of those DOD tech scouts.
Alongside the activity around innovation, which falls in line with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s vision, has been the programmatic awareness of the OKSBDC on the national level. OKSBDC, for the first time, had the opportunity to showcase one of the Encountering Innovation Clients in Washington D.C. at the Congressional Client Showcase. Only 10 SBDC Clients were selected out of 62 networks across the U.S. and its territories. This is the first time Oklahoma has ever had a client selected for this honor and congressional leaders and SBA officials had the opportunity to view how this client is converting oil and gas equipment to do water reparation in a piece of equipment that can be placed in a container and transported down the road. The is going to bring that 80,000-pound piece of equipment to the OKA Institute in Ada next month to showcase what it can do.
The OKSBDC has also had the opportunity to be invited to provide testimony to the United States House of Representatives Small Business Committee on the importance of US Census Data as it relates to market research and advising clients. This is also a first for OKSBDC.
Dana Hugle, Center Director of the Eastern Oklahoma State College SBDC, had one of her clients selected as SBA’s Small Family-Owned Business of the Year, in Oklahoma this year.
Recognition has been acquired in an Oklahoma magazine as well as the national America’s SBDC magazine regarding the work of the OKSBDC to spur the business economy of Oklahoma. One of the OKSBDC clients is the featured client on this year’s America’s SBDC national brochure.
The OKSBDC also seeks to engage our students from our host institutions, whether it be an entrepreneurial seminar, mentoring by a business advisor, or engaging in market research. In doing so, the OKSBDC strives to engage that next level of entrepreneurs in the State. The work of the OKSBDC is extremely important and vital for the future of the Oklahoma economy.