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Kedma Ough
— A Winning Champion of Small Business.

Kedma Ough is a nationally recognized leader, and award-winning champion of small business. She is also the author of "Target Funding," a guide to finding opportunities for your business.
Kedma, it seems to me that you developed your system, the hard way — through experience. Tell me how you developed your Proven System?

Worked with over 10,000 entrepreneurs over the past 20 years and when we're looking at new ideas, the best way to prove it is to go through the experience — if you're developing a new food product, then taste it. For me, this is my product and the way I learned it was in 2001, I had to file bankruptcy. I want to pause and say that filing for bankruptcy doesn't mean people are not financially savvy, it means they've gone through a crisis.

I found myself in that predicament and two weeks later I received a credit card for $200. When I was a little girl I played the boardgames Monopoly and whenever you would "Pass Go," you would get $200. So, this was the universe's way of bringing me back in to play the game. I went on a 15-year journey to uncover every fund and every resource that may be available for people in my situation. So, the book is centered around scaling your idea if you're not bankable.

I don't want you to give it all away for free, but what's one tip you can offer a startup right now?

I love telling my secrets because if you tell your secrets, people win. The way you crack the funding code is so similar the way you crack when you're doing a patent search — you have to look at key words so you can get closer to whether or not other people have potential patents in that space. That's how I do Target Funding. You come to me and say, "I'm a woman-owned business in Dallas, TX and I'm thinking about tech and education." Those are key words! So, we took all of that and threw it in the book.

It is hunting. And, when people get my book, they realize it's a reference manual. They think it's work, but it is a lot of work to find money. But once you know the pattern and the systems, anyone can do it.

Can you describe what obtaining these funds means to entrepreneurs or startups?

Its life changing. When we talk about variables, there are entire chapters dedicated to those — veteran, woman-owned, if you're a minority, if you're part of the LGBTQ community, if you practice a certain faith. That's one side, we have a side for inventors and R&D funding. We have a whole section for grants. It's a game changer for what you're doing.

We are in a society where we want to have instant life perfection. It took me 18 years and I am an expert; it took me 18 years and I never wavered. My nickname is turtle because I keep going and, in the fable, the turtle wins. I went from broke to where I am with assets and my own business, but I followed my system. No one handed me anything.

Now, Tech to Market. You're a national speaker, what made you say, "I want to go to Shreveport?"

One of the things I'm really passionate about is innovation. And, I'm passionate about the idea that no matter how many speaking engagements I do, I'm here for the people. I get more excited about helping someone who is struggling, on welfare trying to build a family raise $10,000 than a multimillionaire who want to raise $100 million. And, if we build the foundation from the bottom up, everyone wins. I get excited because if there are 100 people in the room and we all level up, how many people will that impact in jobs and innovation? Innovation doesn't happen in NASA, it happens in everyday society when you're sitting at home and saying, "I need to solve this problem."

What can attendees of the event expect from your keynote?

I want them to expect actionable, plus motivational, and interactive experience. At every event, we hand out index cards because I want people to tell me what question they came with that they want me to answer. Right off the bat, when I'm done with presentation, I'm answering these questions. I do it because 1. If someone is coming to a presentation and if they hear is hype and don't get their problem solved, they're going to be angry. When someone gets their question answered, even on stage, it's a game changer. Second, I'm not just here to motivate. I'm a "get it to work" kind of gal. I am a storyteller, so I will bring in different stories so they know I'm not just saying things, but here's how we can put it into work.

Kedma, how can people interact with you outside of Tech to Market?

We are building a digital course for people who read the book but don't have time and need help. It's very affordable, a lot of speakers tend to have a high cost for their course, but we want to have something affordable because we're in the funding world and I want success stories. I want them to use the formula. And, we're building our own Target Funding database that will allow us to populate a customized Target Funding plan for each person we work with.