Innovation and Incubation Entrepreneurial Center Dedicated at OSU-Okmulgee/MidAmerica Industrial Par
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
First Tenant to Conduct Research Projects to Develop New Polymers OSU-Okmulgee and MidAmerica Industrial Park launched a major project aimed at building the industry base in northeastern Oklahoma. The college and commerce group dedicated a new Innovation and Incubation Entrepreneurial Center near Pryor today. More than a hundred area community, government, business and education leaders attended the dedication ceremony. The event was hosted by the MidAmerica Industrial Park Administration and Trustees and educators from OSU-Okmulgee. Speakers at the dedication included: Sanders Mitchell, MidAmerica Industrial Park Administrator; Dan Boren (D), U.S. House of Representatives; Chancellor Paul Risser, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; Jerry Efurd, Northeastern Oklahoma Area Director for USDA Rural Development; Chuck Woodson, President of Non-Metallic Sciences, Inc., and first client of the Small Business Innovation and Incubation Center; and Dr. Robert Klabenes, President of OSU-Okmulgee. Boren told the group that technology and attitude are now the two major factors in changing and preparing rural Oklahoma to successfully perform in a globally competitive environment. "This collaboration between OSU-Okmulgee and the MidAmerica Industrial Park in the development of technology- and manufacturing-based companies will result in high-tech and high-wage jobs in this geographic area." Located halfway between Chouteau and Pryor just east of Highway 69, the 11,000 square foot Innovation and Incubation Entrepreneurial Center contains four business incubators. Two have 2,600 square feet, one has 1,800 square feet, and the other has 1,500 square feet. Each of the four spaces has an office with a private door and window onto a lab or shop area. Two spaces have 12-foot ceilings; and two spaces have 22-foot ceilings. All four spaces feature overhead doors as well as traditional entryways. Mitchell noted that the collaboration between the MidAmerica Industrial Park and OSU-Okmulgee in the creation and support of a small business incubator represents a positive strategic shift in economic development and job creation in the Northeast Oklahoma region. "This collaboration leverages an extensive array of assets from OSU such as basic and applied research, workforce development, technical assistance, and expertise with respect to product commercialization. The Park contributes assets such as the facility, initial operating capital, comprehensive infrastructure, web presence, industrial park environment, and a reputation for job creation." "The prosperity of our area is crucial to the prosperity of Oklahoma," Mitchell continued. "Nearly 35 percent of Oklahoma residents live in rural areas compared to 20 percent nationwide. With cooperation and collaboration, we believe the opportunities that are available to us are well beyond the scope of our imagination at this time. The Center represents an initiative that will facilitate research and spawn industries focused on new and emerging technologies." The OSU-Okmulgee/MidAmerica Industrial Park Innovation and Incubation Entrepreneurial Center is an addition to the existing OSU-Okmulgee extension at MidAmerica Industrial Park. The MidAmerica Industrial Park and OSU-Okmulgee will work as partners to provide a process and capabilities to help clients grow their business to an independent and viable stage, including: Mentoring from other entrepreneurs and business owners, Consultation with accounting / tax / legal specialists, Strategic planning and marketing support, Access to OSU-Okmulgee faculty for technical guidance, Shared reception, office equipment, conference rooms, distance learning and teleconferencing capabilities and other services. Access to the Advisory Committee comprised of area business leaders and educators. According to Leann Burger, the recently appointed Manager of the Innovation and Incubation Entrepreneurial Center, the priority job creation sectors for this incubator are technology and light manufacturing. Examples include bioscience, nanotechnology, hardware/software development and engineering, non-metallic sciences, and other related technologies. "Centers like this are 'starter homes' for technology-based business," said Burger. "Our clients will contribute to the economic vitality of the area and ultimately be leaders in developing 21st century innovations for rural Oklahoma." Burger outlined the criteria for prospective clients interested in applying for space at the center. They should have: a unique, technology-driven idea, an idea in the area of light manufacturing, a solid business plan, their own financial resources, either in the form of entrepreneurial funding or some venture capital. A complete listing of the criteria for the Innovation and Incubation Entrepreneurial Center is online at http://www.maip.com/criteria.htm . Dr. Bob Klabenes, president of OSU-Okmulgee, said, "The name of this center was very carefully selected to reflect the criteria we will look for when accepting clients. The title - Innovation and Incubation Entrepreneurial Center - specifies that the entrepreneurial spirit will be important and the product will need to be innovative to be selected as a client for this incubation center. In today's world, partnering is crucial; companies and organizations will have to be quick, innovative, respond to the needs of the public, and develop products of high quality in order to be competitive. This Innovation and Incubation Entrepreneurial Center will guide its clients to be competitive and to have a positive impact on the economic development of Northeast Oklahoma." Business incubator projects typically produce enterprises that become vital in the communities in which they are located. Small firms that are fostered in an incubator setting have an 85% success rate. They often grow at a rate that is seven to 22 times faster than a business started otherwise.