The Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center and the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center are working together to support entrepreneurial and small businesses in the state.
“Both FAPC and OKSBDC are very similar in our missions,” said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director. “We both are here to help support business growth in Oklahoma.”
FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that stimulates and supports the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.
Similarly, the OKSBDC state office, located in Durant, Oklahoma, is committed to growing Oklahoma’s economy by advising entrepreneurial and small businesses to help Oklahomans launch and grow businesses.
As part of the partnership, five individuals are splitting their time between FAPC and OKSBDC to support small business development.
Rodney Holcomb, FAPC agribusiness economist, was appointed director of the OKSBDC Data Center and is conducting market, competition and industry research to help small business clients.
Stephanie Baker, quality management specialist, is the newest hire for FAPC and OKSBDC and is leading and managing quality, food safety and security programs for the Oklahoma food industries, as well as best manufacturing practices for product outputs and employee safe health practices.
James Arati, OSU and OKSBDC business development specialist, provides coaching for small businesses and entrepreneurs by analyzing client business plans; advising on investments, marketing and funding opportunities; and linking clients with appropriate resources on starting and operating a business.
In addition, Erin Johnson, FAPC business/marketing client coordinator, and Andrea Graves, FAPC business planning and marketing specialist, will continue to advise start-up and entrepreneurial companies within the food and agricultural industries, but their reach will increase as they assist additional companies with OKSBDC.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to assist more people in the state,” Johnson said. “Being able to work with businesses through OKSBDC is exciting and beneficial in addition to providing all the services that FAPC offers.”