State Regents recognize partnership between Eastern and Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers


WILBURTON, OK (March 26, 2018) – Twenty-seven business and higher education partnerships throughout the state were recently recognized as innovative collaborations that further the education of Oklahoma’s workforce. The partnership between Eastern Oklahoma State College and the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers (OKSBDC) was recognized at the event.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants.

Accepting the award on behalf of the OKSBDC were State Director Bill Carter, Assistant State Directors Sharon Nichols and Michele Campbell and Business Advisor Dana Hugle.

Eastern and the OKSBDC have developed a unique partnership with local entities in an effort to help Oklahomans start and grow businesses. The Four County Small Business Consortium is made up of private and public partners in Latimer, Haskell, Pittsburg and Le Flore counties. The partners provide the funding to support the salary of a dedicated OKSBD business advisor for small businesses in the area. EOSC coordinates the consortium and provides an office for the business adviser on campus. The partnership with OKSBDC is unique to Oklahoma because it utilizes private dollars to support the group’s economic development efforts. Organizations in the consortium include EOSC, the city of Stigler, Stigler Chamber of Commerce, Stigler Community Development Authority, Stigler Industrial Authority, the city of Wilburton, Kiamichi Electric Cooperative Inc., Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Kiamichi Technology Centers. Advisers work directly with entrepreneurs and business owners, at no cost, to help start or expand their businesses. Services include financial analysis, capital sources, industry research, international trade, market research, digital marketing and social media, management support, emergency preparedness, business survival planning, economic impact analysis, economic gardening, and geographic information systems.

Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 for tuition waivers to employees of the partnering businesses; internships that enable current students to work at the partnering businesses; faculty externships with the partnering businesses; and/or enhancement of the partnerships with additional equipment, materials or supplies. The State Regents provide a $500 match to the waivers.

“Our colleges and universities are working side by side with leaders in the private, public and nonprofit sectors,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These collaborations between business and industry and our state system institutions ensure that we continue building the skilled workforce needed for Oklahoma to be globally competitive.”

Participating in the recognition program with Chancellor Johnson were Secretary of State Dave Lopez and State Regent Mike Turpen.

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson (far left) recently recognized the partnership between Eastern Oklahoma State College and the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers. Also at the event were (left to right) OKSBDC Advisor Dana Hugle, OKSBDC Assistant State Director Michele Campbell, OKSBDC Assistant State Director Sharon Nichols, OKSBDC State Director Bill Carter, EOSC Business Professor Kaben Smallwood, EOSC Vice President of Student and External Affairs Trish McBeath, and Secretary of State Dave Lopez.

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