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Oklahoma Entrepreneurs Headed to Belgium

November 4-6, Creative Oklahoma will be taking a delegation of Oklahomans to Kortrijk, Belgium for participation in the 2014 Creativity World Forum where international business connections and promotion of Oklahoma will be featured. For the first time, the delegation will include 18 young Oklahoma innovators and entrepreneurs serving as ambassadors of our state. Oklahoma is currently the only North American member of the 13-member international Districts of Creativity Network, DC Network, based in Flanders, Belgium. Each year, the organization sponsors the largest international creativity gathering in the world, this year in Kortjrik. In 2010, Oklahoma City hosted the Creativity World Forum and will host a Reverse Mission of the international delegates coming to Oklahoma to visit Oklahoma’s creativity and innovation centers. The 18 entrepreneurial ambassadors were hand-selected from a pool of applicants and will represent a wide variety of creative pursuits, entrepreneurial disciplines, and geographic regions of Oklahoma. From scientists to filmmakers, these Forum attendees will engage in cross-cultural networking, business-to-business opportunities, and learning experiences.

“These ambassadors were each selected because they lead by example—pushing the status quo,” Creative Oklahoma president Susan McCalmont said. Among the ambassadors traveling to Belgium is entrepreneur and Native Soundstage founder Benjamin Campbell, from Oklahoma City. “I feel incredibly honored to have been selected as part of the delegation to the Creativity World Forum and simultaneously humbled to be included in such an amazing group of Oklahomans,” Campbell said. “The most exciting part for me of this endeavor is getting to work alongside and learn from other people striving to make Oklahoma a more creative place. As an entrepreneur in the music industry, I hope to gain knowledge and inspiration to bring back Oklahoma and apply to my various projects.”

Scientist, innovator, and technology executive Justin Briggs, also from Oklahoma City, looks forward to the learning experiences that are offered at the Forum. “I am extremely excited to learn from some of the best entrepreneurs and innovators in the world,” Briggs said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am grateful to Creative Oklahoma for bringing this to us.”

Not only do the delegates look forward to learning from the keynote speakers at the Forum, they also look forward to bringing back what they learn and applying it to Oklahoma’s constant growth.

“I was born and raised here in Oklahoma and truly believe in the growth of our state through the arts, culture and the way we can weave these into our economic growth,” Jonathan Stranger, founder of Ludivine restaurant in Oklahoma City, said.

“The relationships forged on this trip will further solidify the international perception that Oklahoma is a place that is thriving and continually looking to expand its support for innovative and creative entrepreneurial activities,” McCalmont said.

While we have worked with the Districts of Creativity Network to cover the cost of the forum, there is currently a need to cover approximately $36,000 in airfare and hotel expenses to reduce the $2,000 travel and lodging cost per attendee. Donations are currently being welcomed.

All donations can be made to Creative Oklahoma and are fully tax deductible. Please be sure to note that your donation is notated for the “2014 Creativity World Forum.”

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