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Oklahoma State Senate
OFFICE OF SENATOR JAY PAUL GUMM
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2010

Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm

Senate Okays Measure to Support Entrepreneurs

The Oklahoma Senate approved a measure Monday that supporters say would be a critical component of the state’s effort to support small businesses.

Senate Bill 1723 would establish an “Entrepreneur Ready Community” program, helping communities find ways to encourage creative Oklahomans to take their ideas and turn them into goods and services. Senator Jay Paul Gumm of Durant wrote the measure.

“The idea is widen the scope of traditional economic development efforts,” the lawmaker said. “We all hear a lot about big industrial recruits – and that is an important part of creating jobs in our communities.

“Even so, we know how critically important small businesses are to the state’s economy. This will direct critical efforts – as a matter of policy and direction – toward those individuals who have an idea but who need guidance creating a small business.”

Gumm, the former executive director of a local chamber of commerce, said one of the consistent criticisms of economic development efforts is that it appears to focus efforts on new business recruitment or expansion from outside Oklahoma into the state.

“The ‘Entrepreneur Ready Community’ bill puts a focus on what I call ‘home-grown economic development’,” he said. “Oklahoma has exceptional human resources in the form of our people. There are creative Oklahomans out there today who have ideas for great products or services, but who need help turning those ideas into a businesses and job-creators.”

Under the bill, Oklahoma communities could earn the title of “Entrepreneur Ready Community.” The lawmaker said the title would be important both for growing those “home-grown” small businesses and for attracting new industrial recruits.

“Few major employers are completely self-contained,” Gumm said. “They require ancillary businesses to provide either raw product to be turned into value-added goods or other support goods and services for either their employees or operations.

“By sending the message that a community is a haven for ‘home-grown’ businesses, a community could become even more attractive for major industrial recruits. That would create an environment in which job creation truly self-perpetuates. The end-game is simple: a robust local economy that also adds strength to our state’s economic future.”

The lawmaker said some communities have already contacted his office about becoming pilot programs under the bill and helping to enact and implement the proposed 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 House of Representatives, where Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, will be its sponsor.

For more information contact:
Sen. Gumm: 405-521-5586

 

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