View Full Version : Project Next Initiative

02-19-2005, 01:00 AM
The Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce seems to be on the right page. They'll be focusing more on attracting and growing businesses, and finding ways to keep our college graduates in-state.

"Chamber launches Project Next Initiative
By Carmel Perez Snyder
The Oklahoman

Expansion of local companies, recruiting companies and an emphasis on providing resources, tools and assistance to entrepreneurs in Oklahoma City are all part of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's Project Next Initiative.
"Fostering an environment of innovation is critical to growing new companies and wealth in our city," Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Roy Williams said.

The Chamber plans to unveil a Web site that will provide critical assistance to entrepreneurs within the next 30 to 60 days, Williams said.

The site will allow would-be business owners to connect to resources needed to start a project or business, such as links to money, legal and tax help.

"The goal is to create an environment that is very conducive to and fosters entrepreneurs," Williams said.

For more than 18 months, the Chamber has been working toward developing a strategy to attract and keep high-skilled, educated workers.

After a series of focus groups and a forum, a leadership team has made recommendations for the community's human capital strategy.

Through aggressive partnerships with higher education institutions in the region, the Chamber also will help develop programs that help retain and attract graduates, including an internship program and a plan to market Oklahoma City's opportunities to graduates.

"This is a concept many other cities are exploring, including our own. We want to provide coordinating resources to help find the best solution for Oklahoma City," Williams said.

There are other proposed action items recommended through the Project Next process that can be implemented by partners or as part of the Chamber's next five-year economic development program.

Chamber Chairman Fred Hall, of Fred Jones Cos., said the Chamber has to work with partners to implement some of the recommendations.

"In some cases, we frankly are not the right organization to implement them successfully," Hall said. "In the coming months, we hope to continue working with the volunteers who developed these recommendations to move others forward in the way we plan to attack these first three."

02-19-2005, 01:26 PM
They are also working strongly with AEP and several AEP members regarding Project Next.

02-19-2005, 08:07 PM
I agree with you Patrick. The focus needs to be on attracting more business to the state. Dell was a start.

Our college graduates are leaving Oklahoma because there simply isn't any work here. We graduate many skilled people from our universities. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of jobs in our state needing skilled workers. Minimum wage jobs prevail.

02-20-2005, 12:24 AM
The chamber is correct in fostering startup. An economy in which business start up happens frequently is healthier because the area then becomes less dependent on a few large employers, which lessens the shock if one of them leaves (or tanks). Like managing your investments, the key is to diversify, diversify, diversify. The chamber has adopted this as its mantra (think oil bust), and is going one better with this Project Next initiative.

02-20-2005, 09:46 AM
I wonder if the site will help people without investment collaterial or funds? I would be interested in that, as I am one of those.

02-20-2005, 11:06 AM
What would you propose this site do? The most this site could really do would be pumping startups with free PR. I guess people could look for investors here, but I don't really see that many high rollers logging on here.

02-20-2005, 11:45 PM
what exactly is this Project Next supposed to do? Doesn't it already exist in a number of government inniciatives for small businesses, like start up money and extra money for the "Empowerment Zone" or whatever they call distressed areas...