May 8th at the Oklahoma History Center is our Chairman’s Award for Economic Impact event, and I want to see you there. It is a great ending to our year of luncheons and events.
We are very pleased to be able to present the Chairman’s award to the Chickasaw Nation and its Governor Bill Anoatubby. Most of us are very familiar with the various business operations owned by the Chickasaw Nation. I find it fascinating how the tribal leadership and business development team work towards meeting their mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people. They are not only interested in a good business they also need it to be sustainable and provide for the overall quality of life.
Tribal leadership understands that gaming and casinos are a valuable contribution, but one which depends critically on a regulatory environment which could change at any time. Being able to develop long-term returns from the resources gained through this happy circumstance is a difficult mission. Observe how many of the oil-rich Gulf States still depend essentially on a natural resource – oil – for the vast preponderance of their wealth and influence.
And in Oklahoma, we too are recipients of natural resources which allow the state to flourish. Oil, natural gas, agriculture, mining, all are extractive industries which have brought wealth to us since our state was founded.
The question is: where do we go from here? The Venture Forum was created in response to the banking crisis, and the concomitant business crisis, of the 1980s. If we could develop more entrepreneurial businesses in our state, that could help us weather whatever occurs in our extractive economy.
Now 3o years later, we still are dependent on oil and natural gas for the prosperity of our state. Because tax collections are higher this year, there will be more money for our legislature to budget, but if oil and gas prices decline, we go back down the same hill as before.
In this, my ninth chairman’s report to you all, I am more convinced of the need and role for a Venture Forum to help grow our entrepreneurs and their business. And it is an ongoing process. That is why I am concerned by a small but noticeable dip in our luncheon and after hour’s event attendance. If we are to continue our mission, we need to develop the next generation of those interested in strengthening the entrepreneur ecosystem of Oklahoma.
I look forward to seeing you – and a guest! – at an upcoming OVF event. Remember that if you have someone you feel should attend one of our events, and you cannot afford to bring them as a guest, tell me and I will make it happen.