September 11, 2022


Jordan Caldwell: Cybersecurity in an Insecure World

Jordan Caldwell’s trajectory has been anything but a straight line. However, through following his curiosity and embracing new and exciting challenges, he has found a path that is both stimulating and rewarding. As an entrepreneur, he gets to be his own boss while performing work that he truly enjoys and helps other people.


Cybersecurity is only going to become more and more important to our society as we continue to grow technologically and Caldwell is excited to be a part of this future.

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What happened?

The Ada Jobs Foundation hosted a site visit for an incubator feasibility study. Molly Pyle, Head of Entrepreneurship, and Rose Vieland, Entrepreneurship Programs Specialist facilitated and led a series of workshops, focus groups, and toured multiple spaces that could be used by an incubator program.

Why it matters

Incubators can provide critical support to startup businesses in a community and can offer support for multi-year periods for each company. It is important for the Ada Jobs Foundation to understand the potential for an incubator and how it can be developed in small steps using a “lighter, faster, cheaper” model, especially as we are working to develop a community and culture of new startup companies. This feasibility study is also a requirement for several federal grant programs, and will help guide Ada’s innovation strategy for years to come.

What's next?

There will be a presentation to the Ada Jobs Foundation’s partners and community stakeholders later on this fall. A final report will be published and distributed, and the Ada Jobs Foundation staff will work with the Ada Rural Innovation Action Team to develop a short-term plan for next steps in the early part of 2023

Ashia Todd Joins Ada Jobs Foundation Team

Todd hired to build a network of tech and startup champions in Southern Oklahoma.

Ashia Todd joins the Ada Jobs Foundation (AJF) as the Startup Community Manager.

As the Startup Community Manager, Todd will work to build a network of tech and startup champions, organize monthly events, and schedule the first regional Startup Leadership Roundtable in Southern Oklahoma. The Big Pitch Ada event will also be managed by Todd, who will connect with regional partners to continue to grow these programs, such the Chickasaw Nation, Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Gas and Electric, East Central University, and Pontotoc Technology Center, among others.

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Peggy Saunkeah's weekly shout out to individuals, companies, and organizations working to enhance Ada and our economic development efforts.

Saunkeah Shout OUT this week is for Molly Pyle, Head of Entrepreneurship, and Rose Vieland, Entrepreneurship Programs Specialist, with Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc.


The Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI) supports rural communities as they develop and grow strong entrepreneurial ecosystems, which support tech startups in rural America. Through RISI's work with rural communities across the country, they have helped their partners raise more than $10M in capital from both local sources and federal grants. Working with RISI’s associated organization, the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI), the Ada Jobs Foundation is proud to be a member of the Rural Innovation Network, a group of 28 rural communities throughout the United States.


Ada Jobs Foundation hosted several events this week with AJF staff, community partners, and the RISI team, including a site tour and the incubator feasibility workshop. These sessions at the Ada Jobs Foundation offices focused on identifying under-developed and at-risk elements for startups in Ada, mapping our strategic partners, creating a shared vision statement for the incubator, and identifying early "wins" towards our vision.


It was a very productive week with great input from our community partners. We always welcome a visit from our RISI partners, especially Rose and Molly!


Within the startup ecosystem, there are those who build and those who help others build. Both accelerators and incubators fall under the “helping others build” umbrella but each has a unique value proposition.


Accelerators: Wikipedia describes accelerators as “fixed-term, cohort-based programs, that include mentorship and educational components and culminate in a public pitch event or demo day.” Accelerators help entrepreneurs move their company from an initial stage to a point where they can sell to a market or receive a round of investment in a short period of time, typically over 8 to 12 weeks. Accelerators typically accept companies that have been able to get started with a product or service and need help to “accelerate” to reach a market. The accelerator model uses cohorts of several companies in a similar level of development during a portion of the year (typically winter and spring). While some accelerators can assist with developing business ideas, they tend to be most used by businesses with some level of experience and product development. These entities are not for entrepreneurs who just have an idea.


Incubators: Incubators function much like accelerators but they’re more open to working with early-stage ventures without traction over a longer period of time. Unlike accelerators, incubators don’t typically have cohorts and can be tailored to supporting a company by providing physical space, one-on-one support, connections to business networks, mentorships, and multi-year programming. Incubators work with entrepreneurs to build their venture from “Minimum Viable Product stage” to “first round of funding stage” and beyond. If a company is successful, they will be able to “ graduate from the incubator program and facility and find a new location in the community where the company can continue to grow and scale.


Accelerators “accelerate” growth of an existing young company ready to scale, while incubators “incubate” disruptive and innovative ideas into fully-fledged companies over a longer period of time, with the hope that the company will grow out of the incubator and into a new area of the community.

Ada Jobs Foundation


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