Tulsa Business Journal: Tell us a little bit about your business. When did/will you start it? Why? What is the overall mission of your business?
iParkFree.com: iParkFree.com, founded by Stuart McDaniel, is designed to provide free parking and shuttle service to event goers in the downtown Tulsa area, funded by advertising.
This business idea first came to me as the development of the BOK Center was underway. Talk of potential parking problems in the downtown Tulsa area sparked my interest.
The concept of iParkFree.com came to mind as a way to solve the parking problem while also generating income.
TBJ: If you have not yet started your business, do you have a timeline for when you will start it?
iPF: I am currently seeking funds for the start up of this business and hope to have it up and fully operational by June 2010.
TBJ: What is your background? What made you interested in starting this particular business?
iPF: I have a background in advertising and event management. I own GuRuStu Group, an advertising and event management firm in Tulsa.
I first became interested in event management after volunteering to help with the TulsaRama event. I also designed and maintained the BuriedCar.com Web site for Miss Belvedere. Since, I have been involved with several other events, such as the Oklahoma Centennial Time Capsule, the Sand Springs Soap Box Derby and Sand Fest 2009.
TBJ: What was/is your goal when you started your business? How has it changed (if it has)?
iPF: My goal for this business is three-fold: First, I hope to help solve event parking problems in the downtown Tulsa area; second, I hope to increase business and advertising opportunities throughout Tulsa and surrounding areas; and third, I hope to help revitalize interest in downtown business.
TBJ: How are you funding your business?
iPF: I am reviewing various means of funding for this business. If necessary, I may seek a business loan for the initial start-up costs.
TBJ: Where would you like to take your business in the next year?
iPF: I would like to expand the business to include events outside of the downtown area. This would involve a slightly different concept, where the demand for parking is created before the event.
For example, venue-adjacent parking for a particular event is secured before hand and then provided free to event goers via the iParkFree.com website, all funded by advertising.
TBJ: In the next five years?
iPF: Expansion into other markets such as Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Kansas City and Dallas is a possibility over the next five years.
TBJ: What do you hope to gain from participating in the Spirit Award?
iPF: I hope to gain valuable knowledge through participating in the Spirit Award competition by sharing ideas with others and by discussing ways to handle the various steps to starting a business from scratch.
TBJ: How important has the Spirit Award been in encouraging you to try to start a business?
iPF: The idea of iParkFree.com came to me when the construction of the BOK Center was underway. However, I truly feel that the possibility of winning the Spirit Award strongly encouraged me to move forward with my idea at this time.