The Innovation Center at Rogers State University has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to establish the University Center, a program that provides entrepreneurial training, community development and economic assistance to rural communities.
The EDA's University Center Program is a competitively-based partnership between EDA and academic institutions that makes the resources of universities available to the economic development practitioner community.
The University Center will focus on launching an Entrepreneurial Ready Community Development program to create a corridor of certified entrepreneurial-ready communities that will provide support services to small businesses and local entrepreneurs who need business assistance to become sustainable, successful job-creating entities.
The Entrepreneur Ready Community program will focus primarily on distressed rural communities with populations of less than 20,000. The participating communities will form the regional entrepreneurial corridor which links entrepreneurs with services and resources.
In order to meet the needs of the communities, the RSU University Center will collaborate with existing partners in northeast Oklahoma to provide a comprehensive small business support system. Partners include the communities themselves, as well as:
The Center will utilize best practices from economic gardening to strengthen entrepreneurial efforts in northeast Oklahoma. The economic development activities will focus on increasing the competitive capabilities of local business owners, especially those with specialized skills and high potential goods and services.
The Center's professional staff will work directly with the communities applying for the Entrepreneur Ready Community Certification. Specifically, the staff will promote the certification program to communities, assist communities in completing a community assessment matrix, conduct strategic planning sessions to assist communities in developing an action plan, facilitate study of local entrepreneurs, help develop a network of resource providers, and conduct program orientation workshops.
For more information visit the Entrepreneur Ready Community website at http://www.entrepreneurready.com/index.html.