The City of Claremore and Rogers State University announced today the city is the first in the state recognized as an Entrepreneur Ready Community.
Mayor Mickey Perry announced the certification during his State of the City address on Thursday.
“Through the efforts of RSU’s Innovation Center, Claremore is now the first certified Entrepreneur Ready Community in the state,” said Perry. “We believe this will help us grow and support more businesses and send the message that businesses are welcome and appreciated in Claremore.”
Entrepreneur Ready Claremore is an economic development strategy designed to help the city become more entrepreneur friendly. It is made possible through a grant received from the Economic Development Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Entrepreneur Ready Community program primarily focuses on distressed rural communities with populations of less than 20,000. Participating communities will form a regional entrepreneurial corridor which links entrepreneurs with services and resources.
The Innovation Center at Rogers State University was the recipient of the EDA grant to become a University Center; a program that provides entrepreneurial training, community development and economic assistance to rural communities.
“Becoming an Entrepreneur Ready Community means the overall business climate is supportive and business resources are available and easy to find,” said Jeri Koehler, director of the Innovation Center at RSU. She added, “Claremore has many assets to leverage for growth and continued prosperity. It is important that all stakeholders in the community take a proactive business approach in ensuring policies, procedures and the general environment are conducive to business and sustainable growth.”
The Entrepreneur Ready Community certification program was launched in 2010 to create a corridor of certified entrepreneurial ready communities in northeast Oklahoma that will provide support services to entrepreneurs who need business assistance to become sustainable, successful job-creating entities.
In May 2011, the Claremore City Council approved a resolution to endorse and support the program. That August, a kick-off session was held that educated community members on the importance of an entrepreneurship-centered economic development strategy and sought feedback.
Benefits of Entrepreneur Ready Community certification include job creation, the opportunity to promote the community, the attraction of entrepreneurs and retention of talent and money that might otherwise leak away to other communities and enhance the success and sustainability of entrepreneurial activity.
A number of stakeholders have contributed through the process. The Claremore Chamber of Commerce and Claremore Main Street program have been driving forces behind shop local campaigns. The city developed a business resource page on their website that serves as a central location for information and services related to starting and operating a business in Claremore. Local finance professionals have worked together to ensure small business finance resources are available and easy to find.
Other contributing partners include the communities themselves, as well as the Cherokee Nation, Grand Gateway, Northeast Technology Center, Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, and Rural Enterprises, Inc.
For more info, contact the RSU Innovation Center at 918-343-7533 or visit www.entrepreneurready.com.