ENID, Okla. — Entrepreneurs can stay up-to-date with trends in social media at the Entrepreneur Seminar Series hosted by Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid, 2929 E. Randolph, on March 7-8, 2024.Area and community entrepreneurs are scheduled to discuss how social media has helped grow their business ventures.
(left to right) Curtis Tucker, Dr. Jerry Gustafson, Heather Palmer and Dr. Wayne McMillin during.planning meeting for an Entrepreneurship seminar at NWOSU Enid. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)
Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle
Semi nar sessions are free to the public, and community participants may come and go. Students wanting to earn credit from NWOSU may register for the seminar and pay tuition for the class, which can count toward upper division credits and requirements for the minor studies in entrepreneurship. Students in Alva, Woodward and Ponca City will be able to join the Enid program through a live broadcast to other campuses. The course is led by Jerry Gustafson, also known as “Dr. G.”It takes courageThe series focusing on social media is a continuation of NWOSU’s leadership in e-commerce education. Gustafson said the Alva campus was one of the first in the nation to offer studies in e-commerce. Enid entrepreneur Curtis Tucker took advantage of those courses before starting his online Enid Buzz community website. He said his courses at Northwestern played a big part on influencing his business decisions. As a former student, he has shared his experiences building an online business for many years at the annual seminars and is featured as the keynote speaker for 2024.“It takes great courage to be an entrepreneur. You’re on your own — and you’ll meet others in business who share experiences at the seminar,” said Gustafson, who has developed several businesses on his own as an entrepreneur, during his career as a professor.”Bringing active entrepreneurs to speak to students provides opportunities to get connected, Gustafson said. While some of the speakers are new to the program, others have participated for several years, such as Tony Woodlief, executive vice president for State Policy Network. The SPN mission “an America where all people can flourish because collaborative, entrepreneurial leaders have secured lasting social change, personal freedom, and economic opportunity at the state and local level,” according to its website, spn.org.“We can learn so much by listening to others tell their story,” Gustafson said.
Schedule of speakersWayne McMillin, Northwestern-Enid dean, and Heather Palmer, marketing consultant, have teamed with Gustafson in planning the seminar dive into social media.Social media can be an essential tool to target audiences, Palmer said. From Facebook to Instagram and LinkedIn, each has its own niche, she said.
“Go where your customers are,” she added.There are so many platforms that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, organizers said. At the seminar, entrepreneurs will share what has worked for them.The speakers start at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, in room 218 at Northwestern-Enid and will feature Woodlief at 12:30; David and Jennifer Lawrence, Dense Mechanical, at 1:30; Stella Jantzen, Park Avenue Thrift executive director; at 2:30; Brady Sidwell, Sidwell Strategies financial broker, at 3:30; Debbie Maxey, Northwest Oklahoma Association of Realtors agent, at 4:30. Tucker will provide the keynote speech at 6 p.m. in the Commons Area of the university.On Friday, the program picks up again in room 218 with Woodlief at 9 a.m.; Tucker at 10; Aaron Fuksa, Unique Address & Headlight Restoration owner, at 11; Northwestern faculty panel at noon; Emma Frazier, Emma Shining Jewels owner, at 1 p.m.; Palmer at 2; and Gustafson at 3.
(Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)
Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle
Dream comes to lifeMcMillin said organizers are appreciative of the vision of Lew Ward, an Enid oil producer, who worked to start the Entrepreneurial Leadership Series years ago.As founder of Ward Petroleum, the Oklahoma wildcatter and entrepreneur supported a variety of community causes and wanted to emphasize the entrepreneurial spirit of the Land Run of 1893 and the successful businesses that developed from it. Ward thought institutions should work together, and the group that emerged from that desire is now known as Start-up Enid, a collaboration between NWOSU, Northern Oklahoma College, Autry Technology Center and Enid Regional Development Alliance. The Paul Allen Family Foundation and Stride Bank help sponsor Entrepreneur Seminar Series at NWOSU, too.“Lew Ward’s dream came to fruition before he passed away,” McMillin said. “His leadership made it happen.”One reason NWOSU continues to host the seminars under the updated Entrepreneur Seminar Series is to provide a connection to the real world and academia for students — between theory and practice, Gustafson said. The faculty panel during the March 8 portion of the seminar will feature professors who are also entrepreneurs, spanning businesses in book selling, ranching, photography, rental properties, remodeling and tax accounting services.The 2024 seminar is the first to focus on social media, which has become “so relevant and pervasive that businesses can’t ignore it,” Gustafson said.Gustafson said he invites the public to come and go both days, bring their questions and learn alongside his students about how to leverage the power of social media to grow their businesses.