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  • March 24, 2019 5:12 PM | Che' Loessberg (Administrator)

    OSU’s Craig Watters Delivers Entrepreneurship in a Backpack

    By Lori Williams

    Craig Watters circles the globe. His journey may take him to Pakistan or India before he stops to form rings in Africa. Along the way, the Director of Oklahoma State University’s new Riata Institute for Global Social Entrepreneurship connects individuals to technologies uniquely suited to their communities and cultures. “I like what I do because it gets to the heart of what I think entrepreneurship should be,” he says. The rings in Africa are an ideal example of that connection.

    “Technology is limited in South Africa,” says Dr. Watters. “I spent nine summers teaching there, and it was challenging. How do you help develop a marketing strategy for a business owner in an outdoor market where there is no internet connection? We had to go to an internet café, and even then it was dial up.”

    So Craig Watters took the problem to Syracuse University, his alma mater, where they worked on a solution. “We created an internet backpack,” he explains. “When individuals wear them and spread out, it forms a ring. A hot spot. So the internet becomes part of their appropriate technology and they are able to build their businesses out.”

    But the backpacks include this caveat: “Individuals have to explain how their business is going to help their community, their tribe, their country,” states Watters. “When we have those conversations, many have changed from just saying they are going to make money to saying they will train people and/or hire women.”

    “That’s significant because my students and I help people in countries where women are not allowed to read or learn.”

    That’s one reason why those places are not always accessible to the students in the Riata Institute for Global Social Entrepreneurship program. But until that changes, there’s a solution for that problem as well.

    “My students at OSU are part of a social entrepreneurship club and class called Enactus,” explains Craig. “The goal is to incubate businesses in other places. So the students are actually working as consultants for entrepreneurs in countries like Pakistan, Peru, Costa Rica and India.”

    Still, there are more solutions to be found. “My class did all this work around waste in India. And we quickly learned the importance of understanding the culture.”

    “Even though the caste system is supposed to be abolished in India, it’s still very much alive. That means if you’re not from the lowest caste, the untouchables, you’re not allowed to touch waste.”

    “So that made us go back to the drawing board and think some more.”

    As Craig Watters continues to circle the globe and connect the dots between social impact and global entrepreneurship, he and his students will have to be creative. To be successful, their technologies need to be culturally specific and appropriate to the situation. “Our solutions must be locally owned so that the community has ownership,” says the Director of the Riata Institute. “We also have to create technologies that are environmentally safe and gender safe.”

    “Most of all, we remember that it’s not just about making money. It’s about social impact and social mission.”


  • March 24, 2019 5:08 PM | Che' Loessberg (Administrator)

     

    April 2019 Chairman's Perspective
    By Brad Rickelman

    What a pleasure to have our Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell speak to the Oklahoma Venture Forum in March. While we are focused day in and out improving the ecosystem for entrepreneurs in Oklahoma, it is heartening to have our government’s highest positions filled with entrepreneurs. I also appreciate your taking the time to complete our survey for the forum.

    Hopefully I was not conspicuous in my absence. I was awarded a fellowship to travel to Thailand by the US Department of State. We were working on improving entrepreneurship education in their vocational college business incubators (much like I work with in the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech). Perhaps surprisingly, they have much the same issues with their students and programming as we in Oklahoma. The country of Thailand was a beautiful place, with weather basically like Houston in July all year around. So if you enjoy very hot, very humid, weather, Thailand is your place. Luckily I was not caught in a hotel conference room the entire visit, and was able to take advantage of their hospitality.

    One area the Thai are focusing on is increasing tourist and tourism based entrepreneurship businesses. Many younger Thai feel this is a great way to start a service business, and there is great demand from tourists to view more of their beautiful country.

    Tourism is a major industry in Oklahoma as well and one we often underestimate. Even in Thailand, people asked me about the buffalo or the Native American tribes. So our state brand is very strong. But we all know that Oklahoma is not just wind and buffalo. It has a strong business climate. We all need to see ourselves as ambassadors of Oklahoma and Oklahoma business.

    In April, our speaker will be Dr. Craig Watters from the Oklahoma State University Global Social Entrepreneurship Institute. He will speak about some of their programming throughout the world. This will be a good opportunity to hear about some of the very practical and useful programming through our state research universities.

    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.

  • March 24, 2019 5:04 PM | Che' Loessberg (Administrator)


    Date: April 4th
    Location: Project 3810
    Sponsor:Cameron Ventures
    Speaker: Vicki Langford
    3810 North
    Tulsa Avenue

    Vicki Langford is VP and co-founder of Resonance, Inc a consumer electronics company founded in 1986. Resonance's flagship brand is DD Audio and its main market is mobile electronics. In 2017, she co-founded Project 3810 and is the CEO and Director. Vicki is a certified life coach and an active volunteer with SCORE Oklahoma City Chapter.

  • March 24, 2019 2:05 PM | Che' Loessberg (Administrator)

    Speaker Interview / March 2019

    Overview

    See what you missed last month at the OVF Speaker Series Lunch.

    Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma Matt Pinnell.

     


  • February 28, 2019 3:16 PM | Che' Loessberg (Administrator)


    Here are some great events you won't want to miss.

    Host organization: Startup Grind OKC

    Event title: Lessons Learned on Startups and Angel Investing with Kraettli Epperson

    Event type: Informative chat, Q&A, networking, and food

    Event date: Tuesday, March 12th @ 6pm

    Link to registration: https://startupgrind.com/oklahoma-city/

    -----------------------------------------

    Host organization: Statewide partnership for entrepreneurial advancement. Event hosted at 36 Degrees North, Tulsa

    Event title: 2019 Oklahoma Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Forum

    Event type: Networking and resource collaboration for enhancing Oklahoma’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurial catalysts, resource providers, and capital partners are invited.

    Event date: March 8th 9a-2p

    Link to registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spring-2019-oklahoma-ecosystem-forum-for-entrepreneurial-catalysts-tickets-57205748935?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

    OVF member registration code: No cost to attend. Lunch Provided

    -----------------------------------------

    Host organization: Moore Norman Technology Center & Women’s Business Center

    Event title: DIY Video Marketing

    Event type: Lunch and Learn

    Event date: March 13, 2019

    Link to registration: https://reiwbc.org/event-registration/?regevent_action=register&event_id=1459

    -----------------------------------------

    Host Organization: Moore Norman Technology

    Event title: Lunch & learn: an Overview of Franklin Covey's The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team

    Event type: Leadership Lunch & Learn

    Event date & time: 11:30a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 20, $19, Lunch included.

    Link to registration: Attend

    -----------------------------------------

    Host organization: Oklahoma Venture Forum

    Event title: OVF After Hours: Guest Speaker Vicki Langford, Business Coach

    Event type: Networking & Informative

    Event date: Tuesday, April 4th, 5:30pm-7:30pm

    Link to registration: https://mntc.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=8437dc219c804ab3897573bb3&id=6953270d0f&e=2be2f56d2b

    -----------------------------------------

    Host organization: Startup Grind OKC

    Event title: Fireside chat with Brad McMullan (Emmy Award Winner and CEO @ bfac.com)

    Event type: Informative chat, Q&A, networking, and food

    Event date: Tuesday, April 9th @ 6pm

    Link to registration: https://startupgrind.com/oklahoma-city/

    -----------------------------------------

    Host organization: Startup Grind OKC

    Event title: Fireside chat with Robin Roberson (CEO & Co-Founder of WeGoLook)

    Event type: Informative chat, Q&A, networking, and food

    Event date: Tuesday, May 14th @ 6pm

    Link to registration: https://startupgrind.com/oklahoma-city/

    __________________________

    If you have questions about events?

    Please use the link included in each event.

    Do you have questions about OVF membership?

    Please reach out to me, I am always happy to help.

    Have an event, class, or workshop to Share?

    If you would like to share events, classes or workshops with OVF members please click the Add Me button below and let us know you have something to share. (Please do not share events, classes or workshops with us until you have received the response email with our preferred submission format)


  • February 27, 2019 7:36 PM | Anonymous


    James J. Linhardt is a corporate and securities attorney with Kunzman & Bollinger, Inc. James has experience drafting registration statements, private placement memoranda, and related documents for publicly registered and private placement offerings including non-traded REITs, mortgage programs, oil and gas drilling and acquisition programs, private equity, and other alternative investment offerings for a maximum of over $3 billion.

    James also has extensive experience assisting issuers and broker-dealers in preparing and revising offering related sales materials and communications for compliance with FINRA rules and regularly communicates with senior FINRA personnel regarding advertising regulation interpretations. He has experience forming, acquiring, and selling broker-dealers and state and SEC registered investment advisors and also engaging in continuing membership applications on behalf of existing broker-dealers effecting material changes in their business. James also regularly assists clients navigating the regulatory landscape with the SEC and FINRA, including analyses of the SEC’s Bad Actor Rules and preparing written supervisory procedures and ongoing continuing education materials.
    In addition, James assists clients with general corporate matters such as preparing ongoing consents, board meeting minutes and shareholder voting documents and more complex corporate matters such as developing and implementing cybersecurity policies and procedures, remediating material weaknesses, and preparing and implementing corporate governance committee and audit committee charters.

    Prior to joining Kunzman & Bollinger, Inc., James was a senior associate in the New York offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (“PwC”). While working in PwC’s global transfer pricing practice, James assessed and revised the transfer pricing policies for a global pharmaceutical company with over $40 billion in revenue and entities in over 100 countries, prepared analyses on proposed IRS adjustments in preparation for IRS Appeals Conferences, prepared memoranda and technical analysis for IRS Advance Pricing Agreements, and performed M&A due diligence. James’ experience involved addressing transfer pricing issues related to various transaction types, including IP migration, IP licensing, and factoring for clients in the financial services, technology, pharmaceutical, and consumer goods industries.

    James is licensed to practice law in Oklahoma and New York (non-practicing) and is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, and American Bar Association.

    James graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2013 where he was a member of the Dean’s List in all semesters, a research editor for the American Indian Law Review, a member of Phi Delta Phi honor society, co-founder and president of Law Students for Africa, and recipient of the Savage Scholarship. James graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2010 with a degree in economics, where he was a recipient of the OSU Leadership Recognition Program Award, President’s Leadership and Service Recognition Award, Spears School of Business Scholar Leader award, and was named the Business Student Council Member of the Year.


  • February 27, 2019 3:49 PM | Anonymous


    Written by Lori Williams

    “Oklahoma now has a Lieutenant Governor who is also a small business owner,” says Matt Pinnell. “So, naturally, I’m going to be going around the state seeking out opportunities to speak to entrepreneurs.”
     
    Before he was Lieutenant Governor, Matt Pinnell and his wife Lisa launched Binxy Baby, a company that sells baby hammocks that fit into shopping carts. Today the business is thriving and there are plans to launch two new products later this year. But the Lieutenant Governor still remembers what it was like at the beginning. “The attention to detail when you’re building a business is so important,” he says. In an interview ahead of his presentation at the March OVF luncheon, the Lieutenant Governor shares what those details look like. “I want to help entrepreneurs connect with the resources they need,” he says.
     
    “We have the best career tech infrastructure in the country,” says the Lt. Governor. “Many classes are available to help start-ups bolster their businesses.”
     
    The Lieutenant Governor also wants entrepreneurs to tap into the accelerators in the state. “The Thunder Launchpad and OK Innovate are raising money for investment funds. i2E also does a good job in that area. But we need more accelerators.”
     
    “We have one of the best states in the country for philanthropic activity. So we need to get those people much more engaged in investing in business ventures.”
     
    Engagement is key, especially when it involves connecting with the right people and resources. “When Lisa and I decided to launch our business,” recalls the Lieutenant Governor, “it was a slow build process.”
     
    For example, it took time to work through the patent protocol for Lisa’s invention. But that investment, which secured a lockproof patent, means that the Pinnells are able to deal effectively with the legal issues that come with the territory. “It’s very frustrating,” says the Lt. Governor, “to see so many knockoff products on places like Amazon. I want small business owners to realize how important it is to find an attorney who specializes in patent infringement issues.”
     
    “We went to experts in different fields very early in the process of building our business,” he recalls. “We identified a professional vendor in New York who specializes in manufacturing facilities in China. She helped us through that process.”
     
    “It probably took us an extra year to get our product off the ground, but it paid off for us.”
    Finding customers and making it easy for them to pay for products is another detail that must be carefully considered. “Shopify has made it easy for us to build the e-commerce side of our business,” says the Lt. Governor. “Another thing that has helped us is social media.”
     
    “It is critical for entrepreneurs to quickly find someone who is technology proficient. When social media is done well, it’s a lot easier to grow a business.”
     
    Growing a business, it seems, is a lot like growing Oklahoma. That’s why the newly elected Lt. Governor is seeking occasions to speak to individuals who want to invest in entrepreneurship. “I never turn down an interview,” he says, “and I’m always looking for opportunities to speak to people who care about these issues. Reach out to my office* and let’s talk. Because entrepreneurship is the future of Oklahoma.”
     
    *www.ok.gov/ltgovpinnell/
  • February 27, 2019 3:43 PM | Anonymous

    "Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer’d." Cymbeline, Act 4, Scene

    For much of Oklahoma’s history, our economic development has been driven by a turn of nature – the existence of large bodies of oil and natural gas located beneath our soil. And the soil itself, providing food, grain, forage for cattle. Hard work was and is required to wrest value from the land, but fortune has helped us.

    But everyone acknowledges that if we can diversify our state’s economy, we will be less susceptible to the vagaries of the price of oil – and entrepreneurship – growing our own businesses here in Oklahoma – is a great way to diversify.

    Thus I am very excited that our March main speaker is the newly elected Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell. Matt runs a small business with his wife, Lisa, an entrepreneur and inventor, and we are delighted to have both top officials in Oklahoma - Governor Stitt and Lt. Governor Pinnell - as business owners.

    Without making any claims about the effectiveness of running an elected office/administration as a business, it is clear that being an entrepreneur makes one more knowledgeable about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. That is why I really wanted to have our Lt. Governor speak to the Oklahoma Venture Forum.

    One of our main goals of the organization is to increase the visibility and, hopefully, the success of our Oklahoma entrepreneurs. And that is made much easier when our government are themselves entrepreneurs. Please be ready to discuss with our Lt. Governor what can be done to improve the business startup environment across the state. The Lt. Governor also oversees our tourism and programs to make Oklahoma a great destination for our visitors.

    Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this meeting as I have been invited to participate in a Southeast Asia Fellowship through our US Department of State to teach entrepreneurship in Thailand vocational schools. I look forward to filling you in on my experience and appreciate the support and growth that OVF has provided me.
    We will also be using the remaining time for a short survey of OVF, our meetings, and what we can do to improve the organization. Please take the time to complete this survey.

    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.

  • February 13, 2019 10:27 AM | Che' Loessberg (Administrator)

    Here are some great events you won't want to miss. 

    ____________________________________________________

    Host Organization: Metro Tech Downtown Business Campus          

    Event title: Microsoft for Executives: Excel 2016, Level 1

    Event type: Basic Microsoft Excel course for those new to Excel or those frustrated with trying to learn the basics on their own

    Event date: February 13th, 9 AM – 4 PM                   

    Link to registration: http://www.cvent.com/d/06q7z5

    ____________________________________________________

    Host Organization: Metro Tech Downtown Business Campus          

    Event title: Microsoft for Executives: Excel 2016, Level 2

    Event type: Intermediate Microsoft Excel course for professionals who feel they are underutilizing this great software package

    Event date: February 27th, 9 AM – 4 PM                   

    Link to registration: http://www.cvent.com/d/b6q72q

    ____________________________________________________

    Host Organization: Metro Tech Downtown Business Campus          

    Event title: Microsoft for Executives: Excel 2016, Level 3

    Event type: Advanced Microsoft Excel course for users wanting to break through to real mastery

    Event date: March 13th, 9 AM – 4 PM                   

    Link to registration: http://www.cvent.com/d/56q72d

    ____________________________________________________


    If you have questions about events?

    Please use the link included in each event. 

    Do you have questions about OVF membership?

    Please reach out to me, I am always happy to help.

    Have an event, class, or workshop to Share?

    If you would like to share events, classes or workshops with OVF members please click the Add Me button below and let us know you have something to share.  (Please do not share events, classes or workshops with us until you have received the response email with our preferred submission format)

    Add Me  

    OKC Tech Events Calendar: Tech Events

    Best regards,
    Oklahoma Venture Forum


  • February 08, 2019 12:55 PM | Che' Loessberg (Administrator)

    "Procrastination is opportunity's assassin." Victor Kiam

    I have never been one to set New Year’s resolutions, but from my experience many people resolve that this the year they will go on their own and start a business. Being involved with entrepreneurs, I certainly want people to start businesses. But I worry that those who start the year with a resolution with have that resolution end up stacked in the corner of the room with the treadmill and running shoes.

    Part of the difficulty is that when setting a resolution we are quickly struck by the difficulty – and time-consumption – of the resolution. Resolving to lose 15 pounds by jogging, we quickly realize this is going to take a while! And while it is relatively easy to go out and buy the shoes (and kind of fun), it does not make it any easier.

    Likewise with starting a business. Sure, you do the structural work of hiring a lawyer to set up your LLC, put together a business plan, do market research, but none of those things make it any easier to find a stranger willing to part with money for your product or service.

    This year – turn your resolution on its head: start by selling something, and see if it can scale. If not, end it without doing all the structural work. To use my jogging analogy, get out there every morning and walk around the block. If after four weeks you are still walking, increase the pace.

    As we get further into 2019, please continue to seek prospective members for the OVF. Our membership is what makes OVF special. In February, for our luncheon, our Main Speaker is Brian Byrnes, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, The OKC Thunder. The OKC Thunder help fund the Thunder Launchpad - an entrepreneurial accelerator which is in the process of gathering its third cohort of startups. I don’t think we will see any of the basketball players at lunch, but we will learn why the OKC Thunder are involved in entrepreneurship.

    Our Short Presenter is Leo Clarke​, Paelode Systems​. Paelode System provides IT solutions for Oil & Gas Industry, including lodeX — their flagship, end-to-end, electronic ticketing and data workflow solution. lodeX resolves the problem of managing wastewater disposal generated during the production of oil and natural gas.

    I hope you attended and enjoyed our After Hours event on January 23rd at Vault 405, a Coworking space in downtown Edmond.

    I look forward to seeing you – and a guest! – at an upcoming event for OVF.


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