October 11, 2002

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NWOSU Establishes Business Development Center

In an effort to stimulate economic development in the region, Northwestern Oklahoma State University has established the Center for Business Development to coordinate the university's physical and professional resources to assist new and expanding businesses in northwest Oklahoma.

"Part of the mission of state colleges and universities in Oklahoma is to actively participate in building the state's economy," said Dr. Paul Beran, president of Northwestern. "I hope that by creating the Center for Business Development, people will look at Northwestern as not only the center of higher education for northwest Oklahoma, but also as the center for economic development as well."

The Center for Business Development brings together existing university resources, including the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, Pearl Louise Marlatt Walch Alumni Business Research Center and Northwestern's newly created small business incubator.

"We have the mechanisms in place, but we need to structure them so that entrepreneurs have a one-stop shop in which to develop their businesses," Beran said.

Dr. Patti Wilber, associate professor of business and director of the Walch Alumni Business Research Center, is serving as director of the Center.

"Dr. Wilber has developed a reputation as an expert in the development of small businesses," Beran said. "Her knowledge of business principles and her list of contacts throughout Oklahoma will enable her to do an excellent job in the position."

A major component of this initiative is the development of a small business incubator. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce has certified Northwestern as a business incubation site, making the school the only institution of higher education in Oklahoma to earn such a designation.

Certification as a business incubator site is important for prospective businesses because of the tax incentives offered for participation in such a venture. One of the companies currently being incubated at Northwestern, RSI Corporation, is looking forward to expanding its relationship with the Center for Business Development.

"We have been working with President Beran and his staff since opening our office on campus and feel very fortunate to be a part of this innovative program,” said Steve Walz, RSI general manager.

Contact: Steve Valencia, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, (580) 327-8478, sjvalencia@nwosu.edu