2019 Commerce Magazine Book_Cmmrc_PROOF1 - Page 30

AWARD Leading Edge Award Justin Hazzard J ustin Hazzard, Director of the Meridian Technology Center for “The entities that created Startup Stillwater have worked well together Business Development, is focused on growing Stillwater’s entre- historically, but there appeared to be an opportunity to advance the preneurial ecosystem by bringing together partnerships, programs startup ecosystem through a structured partnership that brings and resources that enable entrepreneurs to launch, scale and grow greater awareness to entrepreneurial development,” Hazzard said. startups that contribute to the local economy. The Startup Stillwater initiative launched several programs including ly-stage company increase their payrolls and grow revenues,” Haz- neurs to share their story of building a new venture and also pro- zard said. “We aren’t aiming to build unicorn startups like Facebook vides the company founders the chance to tell our community what or Uber. The goal is to cultivate workhorses.” they need from us. Other programs of Startup Stillwater include the For an entrepreneurial ecosystem to continue to grow and develop, Entrepreneurship UnConference, Beer for Starters, and the Startup it must be organized, yet the growth needs to happen organically; Stillwater Accelerator, a fi ve-week program that helps entrepreneurs otherwise, the results might not be long-lasting. For Hazzard, this to launch their startup. meant deploying resources for startups and aspiring entrepreneurs In addition to managing a business incubator and leading the eff orts but also connecting the community to entrepreneurs and bringing of Startup Stillwater, Hazzard also contributes to statewide entre- visibility to the growing number of successful startups in our city. preneurship activities such as the Oklahoma Entrepreneur Mento- In 2018, Hazzard brought together several key organizations to ring Program and the biennial Oklahoma Entrepreneurship Forum. launch “Startup Stillwater,” which aims to be the “front door to entre- Hazzard and his wife, Megan, have three children and have lived in preneurship.” Startup Stillwater is a joint eff ort between Meridian Stillwater since 2011. Hazzard serves as board member for the Okla- Technology Center, the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at Okla- homa WONDERtorium, Stillwater Chamber of Commerce and Cre- homa State University, Cowboy Technologies and the Stillwater ative Oklahoma. Chamber of Commerce. “The most rewarding element of this type of work is watching an ear- “1 Million Cups,” a monthly event that gives a platform for entrepre- Bailey Williams- 405-714-4037 Giovanna Facchini- 925-482-5744 59