Mvskoke Loan Fund hosts Grow OK partnership

Mvskoke Loan Fund hosts Grow OK partnership
GrowOK grant partnerships to end this year.

Entrepreneur course held at CMN

T.C. Buck/Reporter

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– The College of the Muscogee Nation hosted the GrowOK one-day workshop for budding entrepreneurs Aug. 8.

The GrowOK coursework was designed to assist people living in ‘rural or tribal areas’ with plans for starting a business or current business owners that would like business planning help.

Catherine Brown, of Houston, TX who runs a training firm, Extrabold Sales, led the course.  She teaches future business owners how to better understand their customers.

The Mvskoke Loan Fund, a Native American focused and Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) hosted this course. Present were a variety of business types, including record producers, apparel designers, artists and a deer rancher looking for distribution potential were just a few who attended.

“Marketing language, risk assessment, knowing your competitors and knowing what messages reach your customer… those are the four main bullet points,” said Brown.

GrowOK is a movement of likeminded nonprofit organizations, state agencies, and four Native American tribal governments working together to strengthen entrepreneurship in Oklahoma by providing applicable course and relevant existing tools to aspiring small business owners.

“Often business owners are spending marketing dollars to attempt to reach customers without having the impact that they desire,” said MLF CEO Christopher Coburn. “Grow OK helps entrepreneurs refine their marketing efforts to reach their intended target markets.”

The workshop included a luncheon that was provided by Muscogee (Creek) citizen Leon Thompson who owns and operates Leon’s Smoke Shack.

Thompson recently acquired a loan from the Mvskoke Loan Fund, which will expand his business to include a food truck to accompany his brick and mortar restaurant.

“Passion. If you don’t have a passion for it, don’t do it,” said Thompson about starting  a business.

Thompson has been in business for five years.

Those in partnerships with the Mvskoke Loan Fund includes REI Native American Business Centers, REI Women’s Business Center, Onefire, and i2E. Other workshops have taken place over the last three years through a grant provided by U. S. Economic Development Administration.

This is the third and final operating year for the grant.

Mvskoke Loan Fund has offered 27 training workshops since 2018 with over 1,000 attendees, 93% being Native American.

To find out more about Mvskoke Loan Fund non-profit missions of training, services, and lending visit www.MvskokeLoanFund.orgor call 918-549-2603.

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