Winners of Project DREAM competition for entrepreneurs announced

Sumac Trading LLC was named the winner of the first Project DREAM (Development Regional Entrepreneurs and Mentors) competition sponsored by the Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES) at Cameron University, Chisholm Trail RC&D, Duncan Area Economic Development Authority, Great Plains Technology Center, Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, and Red River Technology Center. Launched in 2007 by the mother/daughter team of Susie Wooten and Makenzi Wooten of Duncan, Sumac Trading offers “big city-style apparel and accessories for the small town resident.”  The company received $1,000 and ongoing pro bono business services offered by Project DREAM partners.  

“The objective of Project DREAM is to encourage and nurture entrepreneurship and to build an entrepreneurial community,” says Arun Tilak, Director, CETES. “Starting a small business requires foresight, planning and expertise in many areas. With this annual competition, Project DREAM will assist budding entrepreneurs by providing them with the knowledge and tools required to turn a dream into a reality.”

Special Days Cake Boutique LLC, a company run by Janice Skinner of Duncan, received the second place prize of $500 and ongoing pro bono business services offered by Project DREAM partners. 

Last summer, the principals of Sumac Trading and Special Days Cake Boutique attended a free Project DREAM workshop on how to start and run a business. Workshops were conducted in both Lawton and Duncan. Following the workshop, attendees submitted their business ideas and were matched with mentors who assisted in the development of a detailed business plan.  This week, they presented their business plans to a panel of judges that was comprised of Gilmer Capps, REI; Josh Devours, First National Bank and Trust, Lawton; and Doug Misak, Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

Susie and Makenzi Wooten started making hand-crafted jewelry and selling it from a small countertop in a Duncan antique mall in 2007. Their business has experienced steady growth over the past four years. Makenzi, who will graduate from Oklahoma State University in December with a major in marketing and a minor in business management, will operate the business full-time.

Skinner, who specializes in unique sugar art creations, has identified her market niche as custom-designed cakes and desserts, made with high quality, fresh ingredients, for special occasions. She is currently studying the feasibility of opening her own commercial kitchen versus renting time slots in an existing commercial kitchen.

Project DREAM will initiate the process again in Spring 2012 with another round of community workshops.



November 14, 2011

PR# 11-212