Tulsa is infused with people with an entrepreneurial spirit. From the oil and gas wildcatters to today’s entrepreneurs, small business owners are the backbone of our economy.
Coming from an entrepreneurial family myself, I know how important it is to have resources and information available for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Soon after I took office, the City of Tulsa collaborated with the Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation, and Tulsa became involved with Entrepreneurship Week, which has now expanded to Global Entrepreneurship Week.
This initiative helped us create two competitions that bring alive the spirit that is Tulsa — the Mayor’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and the Tulsey Award.
The Spirit Award has served as a catalyst for entrepreneurs to not only put their ideas on paper, but to also receive coaching and advice along the way.
A good example of the Spirit Award’s success is from our first-year winner, Seeking Sitters. A woman-owned business operating in more than a dozen states, Seeking Sitters provides childcare service nationwide. It’s smart, it’s successful, and it’s ours.
We could not have made the Spirit Award a reality without the willingness and contribution from another entrepreneurial family, the Kellys at SpiritBank.
We are also fueling the entrepreneurial fire with the Tulseys. In its second year, we are continuing to pay tribute to the wildcatters of our city, both those who laid the foundation and those who are ensuring our best days still lie ahead.
Another program for entrepreneurs and small business owners to get involved in is the City of Tulsa’s Building Resources in Developing and Growing Enterprises program. By signing up with Bridge, the City will support Tulsa businesses and encourage the utilization of developing businesses by those who do business with the City. Certified businesses enjoy benefits that help them build business capacity, navigate the world of business and network with other businesses.
Entrepreneurs are inventing the jobs of tomorrow, and Tulsa welcomes them with open arms. Entrepreneurs are keeping us on lists such as Forbes’ “Best Places for Job Growth” and CNN Money’s “Best Places to Launch a Business.”
Your involvement in Tulsa’s Global Entrepreneurship Week is laying the groundwork to make Tulsa the entrepreneurial capital of our state. I hope you will join me as we celebrate Tulsa’s entrepreneurs, particularly as we announce the winners of the Spirit Award on Nov. 17 and the Tulseys on Nov. 19.
Kathy Taylor is the mayor of Tulsa. Her term ends Dec. 7. Following that, she will serve as Gov. Brad Henry’s top education adviser.