SWOSU OSBDC Setting Records for Loan Placements
The Oklahoma Small Business Development Center at Southwestern Oklahoma State University has become one of the state leaders in loans placed with area small businesses.
The center, with locations in Weatherford and Lawton, has seen loan placements in a 15-county area expand from $800,000 in 2003 to over $5 million in the last six months alone. Doug Misak, lead business coordinator in the office, has become one of the state’s leaders in loans placed with businesses.
Dr. Marvin Hankins, director of the SWOSU Center for Economic and Business Development, said an important aspect of both business counseling and loan placement are the number of jobs affected. A total of 85 jobs have been created or retained as a result of the SWOSU/OSBDC office efforts in the last several fiscal years. The office is also the first in the state to actively participate with banks at a local level to implement the new Small Business Administration Community Express Loan Program.
With the addition of Mary Eichinger in the Lawton office, the SWOSU/OSBDC is well poised to be an important part of the rapid expansion underway at the Fort Sill post and in the Lawton area, according to Hankins. The last seminar hosted by Eichinger in Lawton had over 80 attendees with several additional upcoming government procurement workshops planned.
One of the newest services that the SWOSU/OSBDC office offers is the ability to utilize student interns on specific client projects or needs.
“The ability to bring focused resources to bear on individual business problems has proved to be a dynamic win-win scenario,” Hankins said.
The local businesses gain a valuable research team that can identify marketing formats and potential; perform financial analysis on future projects or calculate return on investment on equipment purchases; and facilitate strategic company planning. The students in return gain valuable real world business experience and business interaction skills.
The SWOSU/OSBDC has built many strategic alliances over the past few years with local banks, chambers of commerce, career tech centers, Main Street programs, local economic developers, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, rural cooperatives, state SBA officials, SWODA and USDA.
“We look forward to building a better economic future in Western Oklahoma,” Hankins said. “Meeting the diverse needs of this area is a challenging and rewarding experience for the local OSBDC business coordinators.”
The Weatherford OSBDC office is located on the campus of SWOSU, and the Lawton satellite office is located in the heart of the downtown business district in Lawton. These two offices cover 15 counties that comprise roughly the southwest quarter of the state. The diverse makeup of this area includes a large rural population, the Indian capital of the Nation as well as two military instillations.