Once deemed "The Oil Capital of the World", Tulsa, Oklahoma has been a destination for advantageous entrepreneurship since the turn of the 20th century. Even beyond a boomtown for oil, Tulsa continues to be a boomtown for American ingenuity, Midwestern congeniality, and commercial opportunity. Let's take a look at just a handful of the attributes of the economic environment of Tulsa that makes it an optimal destination for optimistic entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Helping Startups Start-Up
It doesn't take a licked finger in the air to determine that conditions are perfect in Tulsa for fledgling startup companies to achieve success. Not only do Tulsa's desirable landscapes, rich culture, and low cost of living make the city a prime home base for any new company, but a series of established business incubators help to ease the growing pains associated with starting a new business.
One of the perks of starting a new business in recent times is the ability to work from anywhere. On the other side of the coin, one of the downsides for entrepreneurs and their teams is the fragmentation of a remote workforce. Fortunately, 36 Degrees North provides a basecamp for entrepreneurs, remote workers, and freelancers in the form of high-quality co-working spaces, classrooms, community halls, helpful resource connections, and much more. Spaces are available on a membership or hourly-rental basis. 36 Degrees North also hosts a variety of meetups, workshops, and other community events — most of which are open to the public.
It can be challenging to be a new kid on the block. For this reason, The Forge wants to place your startup on the shoulders of giants. The Forge is a business incubator with a robust curriculum that acts as your organizations' recipe for success in Tulsa, OK, and beyond. With a diverse array of mentors, workspaces for new businesses, and a proven educational program, consider The Forge your startup's jetpack into the business economy.
i2E was birthed from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). The mission of this not-for-profit corporation is completely entrepreneur-centric — helping business leaders grow budding companies into the prestigious Oklahoma companies of tomorrow. It does this by connecting them with investors who believe in them. Over the past 20 years, i2E has funneled over $64 million in investment capital to more than 700 small Oklahoma businesses. This organization has made it even easier for startups to thrive in Tulsa and internationally.
Now into its second generation of leadership, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation is giving small businesses the boost they need in the form of programs, grants, tools, and invaluable networking opportunities. Some programs include a bi-monthly business plan competition (Tulsa Startup Series), a commercial test kitchen for up-and-coming food businesses (Kitchen 66), and a zero-interest new initiative crowdfunding platform (Kiva Tulsa). These are just a handful of the ways the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation is making Tulsa even more fruitful for small businesses.
Meetups for Entrepreneurs
Tulsa's size allows it to enjoy a unique balance of developed city infrastructure and small-town community. One area where this balance is most felt is within the city's welcoming entrepreneurial community, and it's many meetup groups. No matter which sphere of business entrepreneurs and looking to develop, there's likely an entrepreneurial meetup group tailored to the networking necessary to help their business thrive.
Tulsa Young Professionals was founded as an initiative by the Tulsa Regional Chamber as a means of attracting young professionals to the Tulsa area. It has since expanded to include various networking events, workshops, training programs, and activism. TYPROS hosts frequent networking events and seminars to help small businesses and young professionals put down roots in Tulsa's various economies and grow.
Running a business can be time-intensive, but you have to eat sometime, right? With this idea in mind, local small business owners created the B2B Referral and Networking Meetup — a weekly lunch meetup at Bread and Butter Kitchen + Bakery. Sessions run from 11:45 AM till 1:00 PM, with the only cost being whatever you ordered for lunch. Established and fledgling businesses are invited to come run elbows, break bread, and exchange business cards to their heart's content.
Part networking, part coaching, part food. Hosted in eateries all over the Tulsa area frequently, Bold Networking meetups are designed to optimize the sales efforts of small businesses in Tulsa. Whether you're looking to build your sales staff or build your sales staff up, Bold Networking is a frequent source of collaboration and community for sales professionals in the area. Because of their frequency, there's a good chance of finding a Bold Networking event happening minutes away, possibly even the same day.
Tulsa is home to a wide variety of world-renown universities that not only help train tomorrow's business professionals but give existing businesses one of the most robust talent pools in the nation. While many satellite campuses for outside universities live in the city, the Tulsa area is home to a solid roster of prestigious universities dedicated to preparing the business professionals of tomorrow.
Known internationally as an elite research university, the University of Tulsa also boasts of an Innovation, Change & Entrepreneurship minor program. This program helps students develop a thorough knowledge of the challenges that small businesses face in problem-solving, leadership, communication, and much more. Some graduates of this program will take their skills all over the world, but many choose to jumpstart their careers in Tulsa.
Named for the famed evangelist, Oral Roberts University has made quite the name for itself even beyond its Christian roots. The ORU College of Business includes a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses and degree paths. These programs are designed to equip the aspiring entrepreneurs of today with the business skills of tomorrow. Not only does this make it an incubator for excellent business ideas, but an invaluable talent pool for startup companies.
With a name from Oklahoma's Favorite Son, Will Rogers, Rogers State University in nearby Claremore is a tremendous source of business education for tomorrow's entrepreneurial leaders. With courses ranging from Marketing for the Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurial Finance, Managing a Growing Business, and New Venture Development, RSU is working to help the small business leaders of tomorrow grow today.
The future of Tulsa's business community is brighter than ever and growing every day. If you're an entrepreneur or business professional looking for a place to both carve out of a piece of the market as well as belong to a nurturing community, look no further than Tulsa, Oklahoma.
SENTIR Research Labs is proud to be a research and commercialization partner with a variety of Tulsa area entrepreneurial initiatives.