August 13, 2023


Connection, Collaboration, and the Conduit Initiative: Bringing 21st Century Tech Entrepreneurship to Rural Southern Oklahoma

When the Ada Jobs Foundation received the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale Venture Challenge Grant in 2021, new possibilities were created in Southern Oklahoma, specifically Ada, but these possibilities brought new challenges as well. The overall goal of the Build to Scale grant is to create scalable technology startup companies as an economic development strategy. These tech startups would provide good jobs and opportunities in the region while also developing products and services that could be exported out of the area, thus bringing an infusion of wealth into the community. However, because of the small population of Ada and Pontotoc County, it was necessary to cast a wider net when finding these future tech entrepreneurs. So, when James Eldridge, CEO of the Ada Jobs Foundation, wrote the grant proposal for Build to Scale, he expanded the service area to include the geography of the Southern Oklahoma Development Association. This geographic area is designated by the Economic Development Administration as an Economic Development District and includes the counties of Pontotoc, Johnston, Murray, Carter, Garvin, Marshall, Atoka, Coal, Bryan, and Love.

Thus, the Southern Oklahoma Startup Conduit Initiative was created. The concept of a conduit is about connection and movement, and the team is ready to serve as a conduit for our region’s startups and entrepreneurs. Our initiative has a vision to transform the landscape of rural Southern Oklahoma into a vibrant and prosperous region that provides opportunities for those who are ready to take advantage of them. The Conduit Initiative is ready to connect.

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Youth Coding League

What is happening?

This Fall the Ada Jobs Foundation will be hosting a county-wide team for the Youth Coding League. They will be teaching computer science and coding to fifth and sixth graders in a fun environment, emphasizing technical skill, creativity, and teamwork. This team will meet once a week, competing against 90 other teams across the country and will be the first team in the state of Oklahoma.

What does it matter?

The Youth Coding League is a great way to empower young people to learn new skills and concepts that can enrich their lives and shape their futures. The Ada Jobs Foundation has a commitment to innovation and technology, whether that is supporting tech entrepreneurs or taking part in digital skilling initiatives. The Youth Coding League is just one more way that they can fulfil this commitment to innovation in the community.

How do you sign up?

For more information or to register, email Sunnie Dawn Baker at by Friday, August 25th. Information about the Youth Coding League can also be found on their website The first parent meeting will be held at the Conduit Offices at 201 W. 12th St. in Ada, Oklahoma, on Tuesday, August 22nd, from 5:30-6:30 PM. Practices begin the following week and will be held from 4:00-6:00 PM on Tuesday.

City of Ada Housing Survey

KTEN Story on Esports and Tech Jobs

As e-sports grows in popularity in Ada, an effort is being made to expand career opportunities within the tech industry for East Central University students.

Watch the KTEN Story

Ada Jobs Foundation


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