OKSBDC Sponsors International Trade Symposium for Small Businesses

Global opportunity was the topic of conversation at this month’s International Trade Symposium held on the OSU-Oklahoma City Campus and sponsored by Oklahoma Small Business Development Center (OKSBDC). Peter A. Quinter, Chair of the Customs and International Trade Law Group, was the keynote speaker for the event. Over 38 small businesses throughout the area gained valuable knowledge about the resources and opportunities available for companies who want to expand their markets globally. Mr. Quinter discussed regulations for importing and exporting, intellectual property rights, and the proper way to deal with government agencies that regulate international trade.

According to Quinter, “Small businesses export and import more than big companies do. Using the SBDCs in the State of Oklahoma is very effective for companies to export and import successfully in compliance with all laws and regulations.” In addition to Quinter’s expertise, those in attendance had question and answer opportunities from a panel which included Chuck Mills, President of Mills Machine Company, Inc., Jesse Garcia, Global Project Specialist from the Department of Commerce, and Anthony Cambas, Director of the Wes Watkins Center for International Trade and Development, OKSBDC. According to Cambas, the symposium was a valuable opportunity to spread the word about global markets. “The International Trade Symposium was a great event that brought together an interesting mix of export assistance service providers, partner organizations, entrepreneurs, and small and medium sized companies from various parts of the state, says Cambas. “Oklahoma’s small and medium sized businesses have limitless opportunities internationally as there is a rising middle class in many parts of the world and approximately 96% of possible consumers are found outside the United States. The International Trade Center- Small Business Development Center at Oklahoma State University is here to help Oklahoma’s small businesses tap into those opportunities.”

For more information and questions about international trade resources and opportunities, contact the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center Network office at 580.745.2877 or visit www.oksbdc.org.

OKSBDC Success Story: Blue River Valley Winery

Tucked away on a hillside in the small town of Armstrong Oklahoma sits a quaint little shop where the wine flows and the conversation is easy. Blue River Valley Winery, which overlooks its picturesque namesake, is a dream come true for Diane and Hilary Dean. The small boutique winery “was a year in the making,” says Diane, who credits OKSBDC Marketing Consultant, Ahmad El-katib, with much of the progress. “With the data that we were provided by the OKSBDC, we were able to get financing through the USDA of Oklahoma,” which was used to build their current facilities. Co-owner and husband, Hilary, agrees that the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center was a valuable resource. “They helped us build a business plan and do research to find the demographics to see if we actually had a marketable venue in the Durant, (Oklahoma) area.

“I love helping Oklahoma businesses,” remarks El-Katib. “The GIS tools that I use are very helpful to entrepreneurs like Diane and Hilary. They answer a lot of questions about demographics, location and competitors, and that ultimately eliminates some risks.” In addition to market research, the Deans used other no- cost services available through the OKSBDC. “They were unbelievably helpful,” Diane states. “All of our needs have been met.”

A ribbon cutting was held in early December 2015 for Blue River Valley Winery, which specializes in fruit wines. Inside this small boutique, patrons will find a wine list that includes Rio Rosa, Tickle Me Peach, Blue River Bliss, and more.

OKSBDC Advisory Board Meets in Oklahoma City for Fall Meeting

The Oklahoma Small Business Development Center Advisory Board member met recently at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City for a network update and business case study on impact to a second stage business.

Welcome by Board Chair and Southeastern Oklahoma State University President Sean Burrage, the group was provided a program update by Dr. Bill Carter, State Director. A highlight of the meeting included a business brief from CEO/President Brad Lahman of Boxel Manuafacturing in Caney, Oklahoma. Mr. Lahman, along with an OKSBDC panel, discussed the history of business services provided for the Oklahoma company that manufactures livestock exposition products and feeding systems. According to Lahman, the OKSBDC “gave me access to business knowledge.”

Barbara Bonner, OKSBDC Center Director for Durant, Oklahoma, was instrumental in the business services. “The Oklahoma Small Business Development Center is (now) able to consult with Brad about his newest product line, as well as his existing manufacturing operation. With our assistance, he has goals for expansion and has developed management tools and skills to strategically plan growth.”

The Advisory Board Meeting was followed by a reception sponsored by the OKSBDC, Enid Regional Development Alliance, and Stock Exchange Bank in Woodward, OK.

The meeting was well attended by the board which includes the following members: Ms. Dottie Overal, Small Business Adminstration/Oklahoma City; Pam Walker, Small Business Administration/Oklahoma City; President Sean Burrage, Southeastern Oklahoma State University/Durant; Dr. Larry Minks, Southeastern Oklahoma State University/Ardmore; Dr. David Henneberry, International Studies & Outreach-OSU/Stillwater; Dwight Hughes, High Plains Technology Center/Woodward; Adam Leaming, University Center/Ponca City; Senator Susan Paddack, Ada; Brian Campbell, Solara Holdings/Chickasaw Nation, Southlake, TX; Brent Kisling, Enid Regional Development Alliance/Enid; James Dalton, Durant/Bryan County Emergency Management/Durant; Mike Fuhr, The Nature Conservancy/Tulsa; Eric Miller, Port of Muskogee/Muskogee; Greg Phillips, State Farm Insurance/Durant; Dennis Bradford, Genesis Group/Oklahoma City; Jessica Pfau, Shiloh Morning Inn/Ardmore; Xavier Neira, Manhattan Construction Company/Oklahoma City; Mark Stansberry, The GTD Group/Edmond; Bruce Benbrook, Stock Exchange Bank/Woodward; Kelly Nemecek, McClain Bank/Purcell; Mike Jackson, The State Chamber/Oklahoma City; Thomas Lewis, Congressman Tom Cole’s Field Rep; Shawna McWaters-Khalousi, Division Head of Agriculture Technologies- OSU/OKC; John Furstenwerth, Furstenwerth Consulting; Dr. Robert Taylor, Director of New Product Development Center/OSU; Stan Greil, Vice President for Workforce Development, Rose State College; John Veal, Deputy District Director/SBA; Jim Shideler, Coordinator-Global Contacts Division of International Studies/OSU.

OKSBDC services are provided as part of a federal, state, and local economic development partnership. OKSBDC results for Oklahoma include successful business start-ups, stronger small businesses, increased business capitalization, and increased private sector job growth. OKSBDC’s goal is a stronger and more sustainable Oklahoma economy. Business owners in any of Oklahoma’s 77 counties can access the 16 statewide locations to receive business advising, training, and technical assistance on a broad range of business issues including capitalization, government contracting, and other operational challenges.

For more information and questions about OKSBDC services or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center Network office at 580.745.2877 or visit www.oksbdc.org.

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