Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Tulsa, OK

Tulsa

Tulsa, Oklahoma is rising in ranks as a hotbed for business and entrepreneurship in the United States. Find out what accelerators, makerspaces, investors are helping grow this ecosystem.

Tulsa, OK, is the state’s second-largest city as well as the 47th-largest in the United States. Once known as the “Oil Capital of the World,” Tulsa is a hotbed for business and entrepreneurship. According to a 2016 survey performed by Thumbtack Journal, Tulsa is the best city in the United States for women to start up a business. More recently, WalletHub ranked the city 25th on their 2018 list of the best large cities to start a business, as well as 12th on their list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that makeup Tulsa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

With a no-nonsense approach, the B2B Referral and Networking Meetup host regular lunch meetings in which entrepreneurs and other professionals can share information and referrals.

Located in Broken Arrow, a suburb of Tulsa, Connected Women of Green Country is a networking group for professional women.

Bold Networking hosts regular networking events with the goal of helping successful professionals find even more success through business referrals and networking.

Tulsa Real Estate Entrepreneurs is a group that brings together new and experienced real estate investors and entrepreneurs as well as anyone else in that line of work.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

One of a number of locations across the country, 1 Million Cups Tulsa hosts monthly events in which entrepreneurs can present their startups.

Tulsa participates in Global Entrepreneurship Week, an event that celebrates entrepreneurship in cities around the world every November.

2018 marked TU’s first annual Day of Innovation, a celebration of entrepreneurship in and around the University of Tulsa community.

One of several annual events held by Leadership Tulsa, the Women’s Leadership Summit is a collection of workshops and networking opportunities to support women in business.

 

Startup Competitions:

The Love’s Cup is an annual statewide collegiate business plan competition in which students can enter in either the high growth or small business categories.

Students of any major at ORU can compete in the Business Plan Competition, which includes $5,000 in prizes.

The Tulsa StartUp Series is a large competition in which entrepreneurs can compete every other month for $2,500 and the right to compete for the $15,000 grand prize.

The NOVA Cup, a student pitch competition occurring during TU’s Day of Innovation event, has categories for innovations with commercial potential and those dealing with community issues.

 

Co-working Spaces:

36 Degrees North has two locations, both of which include a variety of membership options as well as other services designed to support entrepreneurs.

The Bridge is a co-working space that places an emphasis on supporting entrepreneurship, presenting itself as “for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs.”

Launchpad Tulsa provides its members with a wide variety of options and membership plans, including office space for teams of up to 10 or more people.

 

Maker spaces:

Not quite a traditional maker space, C&C Machine, Inc. works with people to make prototypes and other creations with their precision machines and 3D printing services.

The Tulsa City-County Library includes a small maker space with some equipment open to the public for use in their creating.

The Tulsa Fab Lab works with individuals, educators, and businesses to provide them with tools, equipment, and materials necessary to create.

 

Incubators:

The Forge is a curriculum-based incubator program that works to grow high-potential startups in the Tulsa area.

With offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, i2E organizes a number of resources and programs designed to support entrepreneurship and small business.

Founded in 2015, Kitchen 66 is a food incubator and commercial kitchen space that supports diverse food-based entrepreneurship and businesses.

Not strictly an incubator, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation is a group dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and small business by giving grants and running helpful programs.

14 Types of Information Investors May Request as Part of their Due Diligence Checklist for Your Startup

 

Accelerators:

BetaBlox is a combination incubator and accelerator program that works with approximately 10 startups at a time from Tulsa and Kansas City for a period of up to a year or so.

The Mine is a fellowship program that provides $10,000 in seed funding and mentorship to non-profits or socially-focused startups.

Despite the name, Momemtum3Growth’s Tulsa Business Incubator is actually somewhere an incubator and accelerator, supporting 12 companies at a time.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Through their College of Business, Oral Roberts University supports student entrepreneurship in several ways, most notably with the schoolwide Business Plan Competition.

Just down the road in Claremore, OK, Rogers State University offers several classes in entrepreneurship as well as a BA degree in Social Entrepreneurship.

In addition to some out-of-the-classroom resources, the University of Tulsa also offers an Innovation and Entrepreneurship minor.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

Tulsa is home to one of Hall Capital’s five locations across the country, which provide private equity and investments in several industries.

In addition to the other resources they provide, i2E manages several funds to financially support startups in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and around the state.

Omega Capital is a private equity firm that seeks to acquire or invest in lower middle-market companies in Oklahoma and the surrounding states.

With offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, SeedStep Angels looks to invest in early-stage companies regardless of industry.

Early Stage Financing: 3 Things Early Stage Companies Shouldn’t Go Cheap On!

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The Journal Record, which covers business, legislative, and legal news around the state of Oklahoma, offers daily e-mail updates as well as event notifications.

The Oklahoma Business Roundtable’s newsletter, which is generally released four times per year, covers business news and growth from around the state.

Tulsa’s daily newspaper, Tulsa World, offers a wide variety of newsletters, including one covering real estate and one focusing on business and legal news in the city.

 

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Madison not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

St. Louis, MO, Atlanta, GA Chicago, IL


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.