In concert with recognition that Oklahoma is receiving as the best place in America to start and operate a business, the founders of two Oklahoma technology-based companies whose roots are deeply planted in Oklahoma soil will launch their own non-profit foundation in Oklahoma as a way to give back and help prepare and transition the state and its emerging workforce towards valuable Internet-based technology endeavors.
The brainchild of Oklahoma’s most innovative and passionate entrepreneurs, Cory Miller, of iThemes Media LLC; Scott Day and Jay Chapman at Digimedia.com L.P., have launched The Div, Inc. to offer a tech community hub dedicated to web-based innovation, creativity and training for a better Oklahoma.
The name “Div” comes from the web programming term “<div>,” which is the starting point for a container of elements. The Div is one of the trio’s initial efforts to build a startup technology culture in Oklahoma that brings jobs and revenue to their native state.
“When I launched iThemes in my home three years ago, I never imagined it would grow to what it has today,” said Miller who will serve as President of The Div. “Now with a workforce of more than 20 people and iThemes on solid financial footing and growing, we believe giving back to the community and helping aspiring web designers, developers and entrepreneurs build a better Oklahoma just seems like the most logical next step for us, and the right thing to do.”
The Div, which is located in an 1,800 square foot space in the same office complex as Digimedia and iThemes headquarters in the heart of Edmond, will serve a variety of functions that all work toward the common goal of fostering web-based innovation and entrepreneurial start ups in the metro area, similar to what the trio did with iThemes in 2008. The Div will be managed by the newly hired Executive Director Lindsey Miller.
“We truly want The Div to be a launching pad for people, projects and businesses to become wildly successful here in our great state,” Miller said. “We want people to have a creative and collaborative space to learn and grow to see web tech innovation happen here with the next generation of Oklahomans.”
The Div, which will host a grand opening on August 25th with a guest list that includes confirmed guests Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, Edmond Mayor Patrice Douglas, representatives from the Edmond Economic Development Authority and the Francis Tuttle Technology Center as well as a host of other legislators and city councilors, will consist of several different components. Those components include:
- Weekly and Monthly workshops and classes where the curriculum will be diverse and meet the needs of local budding workplace and aspiring Oklahoma web entrepreneurs–all technology based of course.
- Live streaming of webinars on technology topics ranging from how to launch a blog to how to use Photoshop, offered for free from the company’s WebDesign.com online training division and other experts.
- Library of helpful books (print and ebook) on web development and entrepreneurialism for reading, recommended by the teams at Digimedia and iThemes.
- Collaborative co-working days every Thursday for budding web designers, developers and entrepreneurs who need to get out of the home office and co-mingle with other idea-addicts.
- Lunch and Learns every Friday on topics ranging from health and wellness to financial planning–just anything that can help businesses and the people they employ learn and grow.
- Social nights on Wednesdays–work talk will be off limits but networking and connecting and building friendships and partnerships that last are completely fair game.
- Hosting local groups and small meetings and workshops in the event space.
“My partners and I have been extremely blessed over the years to be given the opportunity to pursue our passions in life and we feel like it’s time to give back and help train the next generation of Oklahomans,” said Scott Day, who co-founded Digimedia while working in his family’s watermelon business in southern Oklahoma in 1997. “We want to give back to a state that’s provided us with so much. Ensuring Oklahoma a workforce that is not only passionate about what they do but also has the skill set necessary to compete in today’s global and ever growing technology-based world.”
Day will serve as the Chairman of the Board of The Div.
“Our hope is that this project will be so successful in Edmond we can work with strategic partners to expand it to other Oklahoma communities in the coming year,” said Jay Chapman, President of Digimedia and founding Board Member of The Div. “I’m beyond excited about what launching The Div means for the future of not only Edmond and the metro area, but for all of Oklahoma. We’ve got passionate, talented, hard-working people in this great state who just need a space and support to cultivate their ideas–and The Div will make that happen in a way Oklahoma’s never seen before.”