August 2020
Governor Stitt and Oklahoma Dept of Commerce Director Kisling
visit Ada and meet with Oklahoma Small Business Relief Program Recipients
PICTURED: Oklahoma State Senate Greg McCortney, Rome Reaws with Browns Shoe Fit , Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, Karen Hudson with The Lot, and Oklahoma State Representative Ronny Johns during a luncheon held for community leaders and OBRP Recipients.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma Department of Commerce Executive Director Brent Kisling visited Ada in July to meet with recipients of the Oklahoma Business Relief Program (OBRP). During these visits, Ada businesses shared how they have been innovative during this difficult time and are growing again as our state continues to reopen.

Governor Stitt designated $50 million in Federal CARES Act funds for the Oklahoma Business Relief Program (OBRP). OBRP was developed to help local businesses across the state overcome the economic challenges of COVID-19, offers vital funding for qualifying businesses that have suffered revenue loss due to the pandemic.

The full list of Ada businesses who received OBRP funds are listed HERE.
Ada Strategic Initiative Public Input Sessions - RECAP & NEXT STEPS
The Ada Jobs Foundation and City of Ada are partnering with Oklahoma Gas and Electric on a strategic initiative to create new action plans for community and economic development to prepare Ada to best respond to the challenges of the COVID-era.
 
The initiative just wrapped up a series of public input sessions. In June of this year, we conducted meetings with key focus groups in the community. In July, we held public input sessions through three “pop-up” in-person (but socially distant) poster input events. We also conducted a structured public input session online via a Zoom meeting. Overall, we had over 30 people provide input in this phase of the process.
 
The next phase of the process will include work to organize action teams around key areas that were identified as requiring immediate action. These action teams will be tasked to address the following areas:
  • Broadband and High Speed Internet Access
  • Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Development (including work on a co-work space)
  • Talent Retention and Expansion
  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Housing and Neighborhood Development
  • Community Vibrancy (inclusive of Placemaking, Revitalization, Arts, Culture, and Events)
  • Beautification
  • Community Health and Safety
  • Public Financing
 
As part of this engagement, the Ada Jobs Foundation is working with TadZo as a strategic consultant who is helping to guide and facilitate this process. The Ada Jobs Foundation worked with TadZo in 2013 on a community economic development strategy, and this engagement will provide an update to the current strategy.
 
The short-term goal for this engagement is to produce actionable strategies to help Ada prepare for the community and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but the long-term goal is to create a flexible strategic framework for Ada’s residents, government, institutional stakeholders, and business community to work on new challenges and opportunities for the community.
Rural Innovation Initiative Update
The Ada Jobs Foundation was selected, in January, as one of ten communities to participate in the 2020 Rural Innovation Initiative to receive technical assistance from the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI), in partnership with their sister organization Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI), to catalyze digital economy job growth in rural areas.
 
Since then, the Ada Jobs Foundation has continuing to work with the Rural Innovation Strategies Inc. team towards creating a Digital Economy Ecosystem Strategy for Ada as a part of the technical assistance program. During the month of July, the RII team conducted virtual site-visits to better understand the current state of direct drivers and foundational elements in our community. This included one-on-one interviews with members of the community who represent different parts of our entrepreneurial ecosystem, resulting in an initial assessment report and presentation from the Rural Innovation Initiative team from the data collected during the site-visits.
 
This assessment report helped prepare for interactive workshop sessions taking place on weekly in the month of August in which the Ada Jobs Foundation, with other communities in the Spring 2020 Development Cohort. During each of these workshops, AJF staff is working directly with the Rural Innovation Initiative team to develop a clear one-year vision with measurable outcomes, milestones, key activities and inputs for each of five Direct Drivers: Digital workforce development, Access to Digital Jobs, Entrepreneurship Support & Incubation, Access to Capital, and Co-working, Networking & Social Spaces).
 
The weekly sessions will conclude with a presentation of Ada’s new digital economy and innovation hub strategy to the other communities in our cohort, staff with the Rural Innovation Initiative, and staff with the US Economic Development Administration. We plan to take this digital economy strategy to a newly formed Action Team in Ada, and together, we plan to use this as model for pursuing new initiatives, such as creating a new co-work space and entrepreneurship hub or new digital workforce development programs in software design and coding. The strategic engagement in the Rural Innovation Initiative should also help us prepare for future grant applications with the Economic Development Administration and other federal entities.
Join Us! Community Entrepreneurship Hour Wednesday, September 9 at 9am via Zoom

Small business owners and entrepreneur join us for a virtual meetup the second Wednesday of each month as featured entrepreneur guest speakers pitch their business. This will be an interactive event where participants are encouraged to engage in conversation and productive feedback. The goal of the Community Entrepreneurship Hour is to provide a platform for aspiring and current entrepreneurs to share their business ideas, receive feedback and connect with like-minded members of the community who support new businesses.

Past Speakers of the Month have included:
Are you interested in presenting?
Stay connected with the
Ada Entrepreneurship Community on Slack.
PLAN TO PARTICIPATE!
Start Up Ada Boot Camp 2020

6-week cohort-based program designed to equip entrepreneurs with the education and resources needed to take their businesses from an idea stage to a pitch ready stage.

Applications will open August 24 and Close Sept 18.

More details coming soon!
This year's event will all take place online.
SAVE THE DATE
SEPT 22-23, 2020
Oka’ Water Technology and Commercialization Conference

Event topics include:
  • Water as an Economic Driver
  • Agency Updates and recent water legislation
  • Field Research Projects
  • Keynote from Governor Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation
Thank you to the many Employees and Businesses deemed as "Essential Services" during the pandemic. We appreciate all you do to keep our economy moving, to show up, to be the helpers, the front line. You are appreciated!