Tulsa’s original StartUp competition is evolving to meet the needs of local entrepreneurs as Tulsa Community College and the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation launch the Tulsa StartUp Series. This competition helps entrepreneurs innovate and accelerate their businesses with the focus on delivering resources and mentoring opportunities to entrepreneurs.
“Small businesses account for 86 percent of Tulsa’s revenue, and this competition has provided an entry point for some very successful businesses in our city,” Elizabeth Frame Ellison, president and CEO of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, said. “Since the competition’s inception nearly 10 years ago, we’ve worked hard with TCC to continually reinvent the Startup Series to ensure it remained relevant in Tulsa’s ever-changing entrepreneurial landscape.”
The Tulsa StartUp Series retains the mentoring aspects of the previous entrepreneurial competition identified as most helpful from past participants. In addition, it creates multiple entry points to the competition, thus shortening the timeline and providing greater accessibility for a larger number of startups. The competition offers opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs, a mentoring component and access to Tulsa’s premium entrepreneurship resources, including LTFF’s Cultivate918, 36°North and i2E.
“The ongoing partnership between TCC and the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation to foster entrepreneurship is one aspect of the College’s commitment to entrepreneurship along with the creation of the George Kaiser Family Foundation’s Endowed Chair for Entrepreneurship at TCC,” TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson said. “Education and entrepreneurship are both about propelling yourself forward with knowledge, and TCC is in a unique position to bridge between the learning experience and economic development in our community.”
Competition evolves for entrepreneurs
The Tulsa StartUp Series features five bi-monthly pitch competitions categorized by business segment and culminates with Demo Day competition during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2016. Participants enter each Pitch Series by uploading a 60-second video at www.tulsastartupseries.com. Judges will then select five finalists to advance to a live pitch round at 36°North. Each live pitch winner will be awarded $2,500 to test or advance their business, a three-month membership to 36°North, a spot in the Venture Assessment Program at i2E and a mentor who will be available to meet with the business owner weekly for at least three months.
The five Pitch Series winners get an automatic bid to compete at Demo Day, where the winner receives $15,000, a year-long membership to 36°North and a dedicated mentor.
Each Pitch Series focuses on a different business segment:
* Pitch Series 1: Tech/Apps (Submissions December 3-January 6)
* Pitch Series 2: K-12 Education (Submissions February 3-March 2)
* Pitch Series 3 Physical Products (Submissions April 6-May 4)
* Pitch Series 4: Food/Retail (Submissions June 1-July 6)
* Pitch Series 5: Wild Card Round (Submissions August 3-September 7)
Online submissions for the Tech/App Pitch Series open Dec. 3. Videos will be accepted until Jan. 6. Top Five for the Tech/App Pitch Series will be announced at Cultivate918 at 5:30 p.m. on January 13 and posted on www.tulsastartupseries.com. The Live Pitch for Tech/App Pitch Series will be at 36°North at 5:30 p.m. on January 20.
TCC and LTFF have supported entrepreneurial innovation, growth and creativity since 2007 when the competition began as the Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award by former Mayor Kathy Taylor. The competition later adapted to the TCC StartUp Cup Powered by the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and has generated more than 2,300 full-time, part-time and contract jobs and a total economic impact for Tulsa of more than $57.7 million.
You can learn more about the Tulsa StartUp Series at www.tulsastartupseries.com including instructions for submitting video pitches and competition rules.