The pieces of the puzzle are all there, but in order to create a more successful economic picture, Oklahoma needs to do a better job of putting those pieces together, according to Sen. Jay Paul Gumm.
The senator from Durant has won unanimous Senate Appropriations Committee approval for Senate Bill 1723. The measure, approved Wednesday, would create the Oklahoma Entrepreneurship Network and grant qualifying towns the title of Entrepreneur Ready Community.
“This is a program that will tell the world that Oklahoma is open and ready for business,” Gumm said. “There are programs scattered throughout multiple entities in state and local government and the private sector aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small business owners create jobs.”
“Our goal with this bill is to sharpen the focus of state government and enable us to do a better job of identifying and coordinating those services. We want to make it easier for entrepreneurs make their dreams a reality and put more Oklahomans to work.”
Gumm said under his legislation, the 2nd Century Entrepreneurship Center would guide and advise the operations of the network, which would include public and private entities and partnerships with the shared goal of promoting business and job creation.
“The network may involve better coordination of efforts between state agencies, local chambers of commerce, colleges, Careertechs or economic development corporations,” Gumm said. “These entities would then work together within the network to help develop business plans, best practices training, and identify sources of start-up and growth capital.”
The center would also be charged with determining which cities and towns will earn the title of Entrepreneur Ready Community.
“This title will give qualifying communities an important marketing tool. It’s also important to remember that the creation of new businesses has a positive impact on other existing businesses, by increasing demand for more goods and services,” Gumm said. “This legislation will help us do a better job of creating a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs to help their ideas become a reality and turn Oklahoma’s economy around.”
The lawmaker said some communities have already contacted his office about ways to be pilot programs and help enact and implement the law.
“We have a strong sense in Oklahoma that small business is critical to our long-term economic health,” he said. “As we look for ways to strengthen Oklahoma’s economy, there is no doubt that small businesses are is the key to a brighter future.”
SB 1723 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.