Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa Chamber Establishes SourceLink for Small Businesses

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa Chamber Establishes SourceLink for Small Businesses

Article excerpt

Think of SourceLink Tulsa as a small-business survival network.

"It's critical," said Jeremy W. Hegle, network integrator for U.S. SourceLink in Kansas City, Mo. "When a small business starts, they're inundated with having to decide thousands of things all at once. What we're finding is if we can get them to the right resource at the right time, their chance of success grows significantly."

SourceLink provides small-business owners a free database and connections to area nonprofit and government resource providers. Based on a model created by the Kauffman Foundation, the Kansas City program has handled more than 100,000 inquiries since its 2003 launch. Hegle said it has spawned 15 affiliates, ranging from Jacksonville to Alaska.

On Monday the Tulsa Metro Chamber introduced the SourceLink program to Oklahoma. Launched at an estimated cost of $70,000 to $100,000, the chamber redirected its in-house small business office to accommodate the SourceLink program and database. Its initial 50- plus resource partners will provide experience and insight for an estimated 29,020 area businesses employing 10 or fewer workers. That accounts for 82 percent of all metro Tulsa firms, their 55,000-plus primary jobs fueling a $1.4 billion annual payroll.

"It is the vitality of small businesses that sustains and rejuvenates our economy, creates the majority of our jobs and drives product innovation," said Cari Marshall, owner of Tulsa-based L&M Office Furniture and 2010 chair of the Tulsa chamber's Small Business Council. "The council found a program like SourceLink critical to connecting small-business owners to the tools they need to succeed."

Margaret White, an associate professor with the Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business Department of Management, is charting resource partner areas of expertise to better connect and answer business inquiries. …

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