RSU Innovation Center to Host Economic Gardening Conference

The Rogers State University Innovation Center will host the third annual Economic Gardening Conference in Claremore, Okla., on Nov. 15, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The conference’s primary focus is to give business leaders and economic development representatives the tools necessary to cultivate viable business development programs that will strengthen their communities, regions and states. It will be located in the Grand Ballroom of the Centennial Center on RSU’s Claremore Campus.

Economic development practitioners and business owners from throughout Oklahoma and surrounding states interested in learning how economic gardening can help grow their economies and businesses are invited to attend.

“This is a great opportunity to learn Economic Gardening best practices,” said Jeri Koehler, Innovation Center director. “We are excited to host this event and support more communities implementing economic gardening in their area.”

This year’s keynote speaker is nationally renowned television and radio voice and entrepreneur, Bill Kurtis. In his home state of Kansas, Kurtis is a rancher, radio station owner, art gallery owner, small businessman, supporter of small-town America and an active conservationist. His 10,000-acre Red Buffalo Ranch is a working cattle ranch, raising and marketing organic grass-fed beef. The ranch is located in the last section of North America to enjoy untouched tall grass prairie, a personal point of pride for Kurtis.

Guest speakers include Mark Lange, Executive Director for the Edward Lowe Foundation, Dr. William Pavia, partner with Sevin Rosen Funds, Jay Martin, inventor and entrepreneur, and Steve Radley, CEO of Network Kansas.

Economic gardening is a development strategy that was first coined in Colorado in the 1980s. In this approach, secondary market research is used to retain and expand existing businesses, as opposed to spending resources to attract new businesses to a community. As a result, businesses stabilize and grow, create new jobs and generate new investments in their communities.

The RSU Innovation Center is seeking to become a tier three National Center for Economic Gardening (NCEG) program. This requires a permanent staff of economic gardening experts to help communities and businesses in the northeast Oklahoma region develop economic gardening strategies. As a pilot program of the NCEG, the RSU Innovation Center is currently having staff train to become certified in the areas of market research, new media and geographic information systems. Certifications also are available for team leaders and program directors.

For more information call the RSU Innovation Center 918-343-7533. To register, go to