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Two seek funding for center to teach enterprising students

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Students at a proposed entrepreneurial center in Tulsa would go beyond what a business degree program can offer and learn the systematic process for creating an enterprise, backers of the plan say.

State Commerce Secretary Russell Perry and Langston University President Ernest Holloway urged the Legislature on Monday to approve funding to create the Center of Entrepreneurial Studies and Research in Tulsa.

Perry said the center would serve as a "motivational force for enterprise creation as the Oklahoma economy moves into the 21st century."

Holloway said the center would differ from a business school "in that it will teach students the mechanics of creating an enterprise, rather than teaching them how to work within an existing business' framework."

Holloway said there are no degree programs offered to guide students through the process of creating an enterprise.

The plan depends on a $3.2 million appropriation from the Legislature. Gov. Frank Keating included it in his budget request for the Commerce Department.

Commerce spokeswoman Ann Dee Lee said Langston was chosen because certain staff members "feel very strongly about the difference between getting your business degree and being an entrepreneur."

"The bottom line is working for yourself or working for someone else," she said. "Because of the state's history and spirit, they felt the entrepreneurial center was perfect for Oklahoma."

Holloway said the curriculum would include venture financing, franchising, leveraged and management buyouts, corporate venturing, high-technology industries, e-commerce and venture and growth capital.
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