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Business

March 8, 2009

Helping to push the economy

Program to hone skills in starting business

DUNCAN — Pushing the economy forward can start with just an idea, yet the skills behind that idea are vital to starting and continuing a business until it is a success.

Jackie Jacobi, business trainer at the Jerry D. Morris Business and Industry Service Center at Red River Technology Center, offers individuals with the entrepreneurship drive a training program to help them become successful.

Jacobi, who has been offering these services for five years, recently attended the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s first conference for entrepreneurs, “Innovation Interactive,” held in Oklahoma City. She also will be at the Job & Career Expo on March 26, in hopes of getting information and resources into the hands of area individuals.

“Entrepreneurs are the underlying, underdriving force of our prosperity, for Oklahoma and the nation, and nations who grow those are wealthier,” Jacobi said. “They are our economic engine.”

And, as the economy continues its unknown trek this year, it’s possible more of the working force laid off will seek to start up businesses, yet Jacobi hasn’t seen that trend locally. Interest in the program is more steady and not so much in direction relation to the turbulent economy. The program is a free service and can last about two years.

Jacobi said that in 2006, small businesses in Oklahoma represented 97.4 percent of employers.

“I generally have about 100 clients a year and average three to five a week,” she said. Among those who have completed the program and ventured into the world of entrepreneurship are Magnolia Anderson (Maggie’s Cafe, about one year in business), Linda Nelson (Vine & Fig Tree, three years) and David and Lee Storey (Storey’s Carpets, two years).

The training program isn’t only for those who want to start their own business, but for all adults and even young adults.

“Entrepreneurship is definitely a 21st century skill,” Jacobi said. “It’s a way of thinking — that has the ability to recognize problems and analyze creative solutions, to focus on new opportunity and lead with a vision toward the future.”

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