Monday, May 02, 2005

Oklahoma’s Regional Focus

I was in Chickasha, OK last week for a SW OK Rural Economic Development Summit. I was able to give my BoomtownUSA talk and my new talk entitled: Hometown Entrepreneurs: Your New Paradigm Shift in Economic Development. Oklahoma is a hotbed of economic activity since passage of their hard fought Right to Work Law and was coming to grips with workmen’s comp costs in the legislature when I was there. Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Kathryn Taylor has been pushing economic development in the state strongly for the past 2 years when she was appointed Secretary, coming from the private sector, always a strong combination.

Oklahoma is pushing regional initiatives, even providing financial incentives to communities that band together into regional efforts. We talked at the conference about the common problem of trying to put communities together into regional groups primarily because “we play each other on Friday nights.” It is unfortunate that this “Friday night” attitude spills over into too many towns. If they would only realize that they have more in common with area towns and that by banding together they can accomplish much more for everyone.

Secretary Taylor is on the right track. She uses a great analogy of a pie, talking about how to grow the pie bigger rather than worrying about your own small slice of the pie.

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