nowata county is only the second community in the state of oklahoma to become entrepreneur ready Certified.
What is Entrepreneur Ready Nowata?
“It’s a countywide effort to improve the business climate in Nowata County. Thus, making the county more conducive for business growth and cultivating more opportunities for the county and its citizens to grow.”- Anthony William Tucker, Grow Nowata
Entrepreneur Ready Nowata is an economic development strategy—a program to help Nowata become more entrepreneur friendly. That means the overall business climate, policies, regulations, and opportunities to learn and grow are available and simple to find. It also means there’s a positive, enthusiastic attitude that permeates the culture; one that asks “How can we help you start and succeed at business?” The certification guarantees that everything’s in place; that resources are easy to find and the people behind them are helpful, friendly, and eager to help.
Entrepreneurship is a process through which individuals identify opportunities, allocate resources, and create value. Value is created through the identification of unmet needs or opportunities for change.
- Perceive problems as opportunities
- Initiate action to identify solutions to the problems
- Create a product or service that satisfies the problem
- Discover customers who will pay to have those problems solved
- When defining entrepreneurship as a process, an Entrepreneur Ready community is one that strives to make navigating the process more successful. An Entrepreneur Ready environment or culture includes business support services, access to capital, receptive attitudes, incentives, technical assistance and a trained and motivated workforce.
Understanding Small Business Development
Looking at the Nowata County community, there are many examples of entrepreneurship in action. These include a locally owned restaurant, a local manufacturing company or a small service based firm. On the surface, these companies look incredibly different, however looking at businesses through a ‘stage’ framework makes it easier to understand that all businesses transition through stages of development and will likely need different resources and relationships at various stages.
Self-employed – Businesses in this stage result from an entrepreneur’s ability to turn a good idea into a product or service. In this early stage, challenges typically revolve around ensuring the survival of the business, including the ability to build assets, create a solid business model, assemble resources, develop a business plan or marketing strategy and create networks. The success of the venture at this stage is almost exclusively dependent on the competence of the small business owner.
Stage one – 2 to 9 employees – Businesses in this stage include lifestyle businesses, commonly referred to as ‘mom and pop’ establishments and young growth businesses. These firms are focused on building market share and a customer base, developing a product or service and securing external financing to cover start-up costs and/or expansion. Although growth is an option, many businesses in this stage choose to remain small, either by choice or necessarily.
Stage two – 10 to 99 employees – Second stage companies typically have a proven product, a niche in the market, and a customer base and are hiring more employees. As the company grows, the skills of the entrepreneur will also need to. Many second-stage companies are described as high growth because they have grown quickly over their first years of existence.
What is the Entrepreneur Ready Nowata Certification Process?
The Rogers State University Innovation Center administered the program. The entire certification process typically takes one-year. Since late 2012, the community has focused on:
- Assessing Nowata’s current business climate
- Creating a comprehensive strategy for business growth
- Marshaling Nowata’s small business resources
- Identifying and nurturing Nowata’s most promising entrepreneurial talents