Prospective entrepreneurs can now take an opportunity to work on starting a business without giving up their paychecks or overturning their lives to do so.
Registration for the fifth cohort of the Startup Stillwater Accelerator is now open. The cohort will launch on September 24; the six-week session will be held on Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Attendees have the option to attend in-person classes at Meridian Technology Center, or they can attend virtually using Zoom.
The Accelerator program is designed to help guide entrepreneurs through the steps in bringing their business idea out of the garage and into reality. The sessions are practical for entrepreneurs of all stages of life and types of business plans — past attendees have ranged from young professionals to retirees.
The timing and schedule of the Accelerator program make it easy for participants to attend during lunch breaks. During the sessions, participants learn about and discuss customer identification, market research, sales and marketing, business structure and legalities, and financials. They can present their ideas to fellow entrepreneurs, give and receive feedback, and learn from successful small business owners.
Each week a guest entrepreneur, usually the owner of a local business, shares his or her experience, answers questions and weighs in during discussions. Sessions are facilitated by Brad Rickelman, Assistant Director of the Center for Business Development
During each session, the cohort discusses the previous week’s assignment and what they learned from the guest entrepreneur. The projects are designed to provide accountability to help entrepreneurs as they move their businesses forward. Rickelman then introduces the topic and assignment for the next week.
“The Accelerator program gives entrepreneurs or people exploring a business idea the opportunity to really work on the various aspects of their business with others who are like-minded in a comfortable setting before they’ve invested time and money. It’s another step in making sure their business finds success,” said Rickelman.
The cost for the entire program is $50, which includes class materials for each session. Participants are welcome to bring their own lunch to the meetings.
Attendees will also receive free use of Live Plan, an online business planning software, during the program. After the program, graduates receive six months of virtual incubation at the Center for Business Development and one year of free membership with the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. The virtual tenancy at Meridian includes consulting, management guidance and some technical assistance, all valued at over $1,200.
For more information and to register for the upcoming series, visit meridiantech.edu/accelerator or contact the Center for Business Development at (405) 377-2220 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509.
Startup Stillwater is an initiative designed to support and encourage local entrepreneurs. It was started by the Meridian Technology Center for Business Development, the Oklahoma State University Riata Center for Entrepreneurship, Cowboy Technologies and the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce.
The Center for Business Development is dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through networking, education, consulting and business incubation services. Assistance is available in various areas such as marketing, product planning, international business and writing business plans. For more information, visit meridiantech.edu/entrepreneurs or contact the Center for Business Development.