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Norman Economic Development Coalition

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Entrepreneurs Drive Economic Success in Norman

NEDC Staff on July 12, 2019

On Friday, three successful, female Norman business owners shared their stories at the Norman Chamber Women’s Leadership Luncheon.

I had the privilege of moderating a panel of speakers consisting of Julia Chew with State Farm Insurance, Cindy Merrick with Therapy in Motion and Sereta Wilson with Annie’s Ruff House.  They shared their visions in starting their businesses in Norman, what resources they utilized, challenges they overcame and lessons learned along the way.

One common theme was their desire to make a difference through service to others—for their families, their communities, their employees and their customers. These women display vision, perseverance and intelligence, and they serve as models for others who hope to bring a business plan and dream to life. They all said they believe they are where they are “supposed to be.”

They inspire me in the work we do to help continuously improve Norman as a place to start and expand businesses. As a community, we should encourage and support our would-be entrepreneurs: people who have a dream to turn their ideas or talents into a profitable venture. Small businesses are a key contributor to successful economic development. In Oklahoma, more than 50% of the private workforce is employed by small businesses, many of which are started by female entrepreneurs.

New businesses need incubator space, mentorship, access to a variety of services and an educated labor pool.  Norman has these resources in spades, and we continue to build and improve these efforts. Entrepreneurs here have the benefit of close proximity to the University of Oklahoma and access to Norman’s highly skilled and educated workforce. The Tom Love Innovation Hub, NEDC’s Startup 405 Business Incubator, 1 Million Cups, Moore Norman Technology Center’s Business Development Center, SBDC and City resources all work together to create a better climate for our startups. Their collaboration and synergy results in greater support for all businesses in Norman.

Thank you to the Norman Chamber Women’s Leadership Committee for hosting the lunch.  These partnerships provide critical resources and foster a positive environment for entrepreneurship. The results of our work are economic development projects that invigorate our city through better job opportunities for our citizens, economic diversification and increased sales tax revenue for our City—all of which translate to a better quality of life for our residents and families.

Maureen Hammond is the interim president of Norman Economic Development Coalition.