Claremore Daily Progress

Business

February 18, 2014

RSU Innovation Center celebrating success

Center excels at cost effective economic development

CLAREMORE —

Since 2005, the Innovation Center at Rogers State University has worked directly with more than 1,500 business and industry clients in northeast Oklahoma to address business planning, marketing and other strategic needs.
In the past year, the center’s activities have directly influenced clients who have invested more than $2.1 million in improvements or expansions, and created or retained 405 jobs, according to information provided by RSU.
“The center provides a range of services including entrepreneurship training, business counseling, financial assistance, a technology incubator for start-up business, demographic research and analysis of complex markets and competition for existing businesses,” said Director Jeri Koehler. “The majority of these services are for communities in general.”
While the center operates under the RSU umbrella, its services are separate from the university’s traditional educational activities. 
“We do have an academic program through the university where students can receive academic credit while pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. We consider this an internship opportunity for entrepreneurial students,” said Koehler. 
Recently, the Innovation Center at RSU was one of 19 universities in 10 states to be awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of the University Center Economic Development Program Competition. The $102,590  grant will be used to continue economic development education to rural community leaders through the Entrepreneur Ready Community (ERC) certification. 
Last year, the City of Claremore was recognized as being the first Entrepreneur Ready Community in Oklahoma. Through the driving force of the Innovation Center, the economic development strategy helped Claremore become more entrepreneur friendly. 
Entrepreneur Ready Claremore was made possible through a grant given by the Economic Development Administration, a U.S. Department of Commerce division. The center received the grant in 2010 to provide support services to entrepreneurs who need business assistance to become successful job creators. Since then, the center has been recognized nationally for its results-oriented measurement for client interactions, including successful client outcomes.

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