“It's all about the students,” Smith said. “Ideas start young. When students start dreaming big, when you get them to cross that threshold for the first time and their eyes get big and they gain that first ounce of confidence, they start believing they are smart enough, they can do this, and that's when they take off.”
Smith said that leaving the small town where he grew up and going to college changed his life.
“I went to a regional university in Oklahoma,” he said. “That university helped me become what I am today. That's what we are supposed to do. Open our students' minds and get their creative juices flowing. Students have to do their part. They have to step out there, and that's a scary proposition. But it's all about perseverance and finding your niche.”
The expansion of the Governor's Cup to better serve schools such as Eastern Oklahoma State will help more of our state's future entrepreneurs persevere and find their niche. For more information, go to www.okgovcup.com.
Rex Smitherman is interim president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Smitherman at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.
MORE FROM NEWSOK
DID YOU KNOW?
According to a recent survey published by the Ewing M. Kauffman Foundation, 38 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds who are enrolled in college plan to start their own business some day. And 3 percent already have created a startup.