CETES asks CU to “Dream Big”

Building her dream: Shailah Redman arranges one of her handpainted signs for her new business.

Building her dream: Shailah Redman arranges one of her handpainted signs for her new business.

Kaylee Jones

Managing Editor

Oklahoma is asking its citizens to “Dream Big.”

Cameron’s Center for Emerging Technologies and Entrepreneurial Studies is the 2014 sponsor of Project Dream, a regional contest focused on “developing regional entrepreneurs and mentors.”

Project Dream is open to entrepreneurs (ages 16 and up) across Stephens, Jackson and Comanche counties who are looking to expand their current business or make their dream of self-employment come true.

Arun Tilak, Director of CETES, explained the primary aim of the competition: “Our bottom line is, ‘How do you grow wealth in Southwest Oklahoma? How do you create entrepreneurs?’”

Tilak added: “Emerging technology is not necessarily medical devices and software; it could be in any field, anything that is emerging. We want to encourage any type of entrepreneurship, local-grown.”

Submissions are due Jan. 31 and must be uploaded to www.DreamBigOklahoma.com before voting begins on Feb. 3.

The two “dreams” that receive the majority vote as well as the top two judges picks will go on to share their dream before a panel of judges on Mar. 6 in the statewide competition.

The winner of the regional contest will win $5,000 from CETES; however, the winner of Project Dream as a whole could win up to $20,000.

For junior Psychology major Shailah Redman, $20,000 is a reason to dream.

In Sept. 2013, Redman founded Redman’s Restoration Station, a business that specializes in furniture restoration and hand-painted signs.

“It was just kind of a knack,” Redman explained. “I was making things for myself, and someone told me that I could make money off of it, that I should try and sell these things, just put it on Facebook. And, literally in a day, I got so many orders: wreaths, signs, furniture…”

Redman said if she won Project Dream, she would like to start her own consignment shop where other people can bring in their crafts and where she can ultimately use her art to assist children.

“I want to use crafts to counsel children and mostly kids in the system. I would like to counsel children who have wealth and who have a good life because I know they have issues too, but mostly kids in the system who can’t help themselves and whose parents can’t help them,” Redman said.

Admitting it takes guts to be an entrepreneur, Tilak encouraged students and regional entrepreneurs to take the initiative and enter Project Dream.

“All the people who have great ideas and keep talking about it need to put their ideas in writing – not put their money where their mouth is; we put the money where their mouth is as long as they put their mouth out there,” Tilak said.

Despite the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs like Redman, Tilak said they have received only two entries at the regional level so far.

Redman may know the reason why.

“I read [the flyer,] then I researched [Project Dream.] Then I went through and picked [all the flyers] up, so no one else could see them,” Redman joked.

Prospective entrepreneurs can learn more by contacting Tilak at atilak@cameron.edu or by visiting www.DreamBigOklahoma.com.

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