The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 27, 2012

Vets’ entrepreneur conference Thursday

By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. —

The Enid office of Oklahoma Small Business Development Center will host a Veterans’ Entrepreneur Conference Thursday at the Northern Oklahoma College Gantz Center in Enid.

Ashlyn Pugh, a business development specialist with OSBDC-Enid, said the conference will give veterans and other members of the community information needed to begin the path to small business ownership.

Pugh said the conference is facilitated through the Small Business Administration’s Veterans Assistance and Service Program (VASP), designed to help returning veterans find or create jobs.

Through VASP funding, Pugh offers ongoing assistance to veterans working to establish their own business venture.

“We try to focus part of what we do here on veterans, and make sure they have access to all the programs designed to help them,” Pugh said. “We want to make sure veterans realize there are programs designed specifically to help them through the Small Business Administration.

“We felt like a conference with a veterans’ focus would be a good thing to bring awareness to what we are doing here, as well as to what services we can provide to veterans.”

Thursday’s conference will be one of only two scheduled this year in the state to focus on helping veterans become entrepreneurs.

Registration for the conference begins at 8 a.m., followed by introductions and opening remarks by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb at 9 a.m.

Michael Morris, professor of business and N. Malone Mitchell Chair at the Oklahoma State University School of Entrepreneurship, will provide a talk entitled “Understanding the entrepreneurial journey.”

Representatives from the “Google Team” will give a presentation on Internet tools available to establish and grow small business, followed by a veteran-owned business panel.

A buffet lunch will be provided for all conference attendees.

Following lunch, the conference will divide into three break-out sessions: one designed to provide “business basics” to prospective entrepreneurs, one to provide more in-depth information on technology tools for small businesses and one session designed specifically for veterans.

A general session with more information from the Google Team will close the conference.

The Veterans’ Entrepreneur Conference is tailored to veterans, but is open and free to all.

Attendees are asked to pre-register for the conference by going to the OSBDC website, osbdc.org, and following the link to the Enid office. For more information go to the website, call Pugh at (580) 213-3197, or email her at aspugh@nwosu.edu.