The mission of the Durant Industrial Authority is to enhance and diversify the Durant community through new workforce development and investments that improve the quality of life. The commitment to develop more opportunities for businesses to start, grow and succeed was demonstrated recently in a community collaboration. Last fall, the Durant Industrial Authority partnered with the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Oklahoma State University to develop a small business retention and expansion program. Team Durant was formed with support from other local entities to create Small Business Bootcamp.
The Durant Industrial Authority invested in the project to support local small businesses by budgeting $200,000 for $5,000 grants to participating small businesses. To be eligible for the grant, the entrepreneurs were required to complete the bootcamp or 30 hours of SBDC training and technical assistance. An additional $60,000 was provided to allow for $2,000 grants to be awarded to participants for technology upgrades.
The Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, which Southeastern has hosted since 1984, developed curriculum modules for the 12-week program to educate small businesses in areas of business development and retention. Curriculum modules included business plan development, financial projections, cash flow analysis, marketing, store design, business continuity, cybersecurity, human resources and e-commerce. Twelve businesses completed the program. Eight bootcamp participants were awarded the $5,000 grant. Ten bootcamp participants were awarded the $2,000 technology grant.
The partnership between SE and the Durant Industrial Authority resulted in a positive initiative promoting economic impact in the community of Durant.