Oklahoma program helps veterans start and grow businesses

The Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at Oklahoma State University always has a waiting list, the director says. Plans to expand it include bring more schools on board and partnering with corporations.
by Kathryn McNutt Published: March 5, 2014

“I think it’s especially important for disabled veterans because they give so much to their country, and then have a program for entrepreneurship to come back to is just an outstanding way to help prepare them for the rest of their lives,” said Regent Toney Stricklin, of Lawton.

Stricklin, a retired Army general, said he would like to see the program expanded to other veterans.

“Veterans of all categories are going to need help training,” he said. “A lot of veterans are going to be coming back to us as the military downsizes.”

Watters said the Riata Center at OSU is building a consortium with schools in Tennessee, Florida and elsewhere to make the program available to more veterans.

The center also plans to partner with corporations that will provide funding and hire veterans willing to work for the corporation rather than for themselves.

Stricklin and Watters said veterans already have a lot of the skills needed to run a business because of their military training. They are disciplined, understand structure and know how to give and take orders.

The regents will continue their meeting Thursday. Southwestern Oklahoma State University is hosting the two-day meeting.

by Kathryn McNutt
Higher Education Reporter
Kathryn McNutt covers higher education for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Since joining the staff in August 2000, she also has worked as the Breaking News editor, Metro editor and assistant Local editor. A native of Oklahoma City, she graduated from...
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