Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award

Kicking off for only the second year, the Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award competition was opened on March 2, 2008.  Begun by Mayor Kathy Taylor and sponsored by SpiritBank to showcase the entrepreneurial fervor alive and well in the Tulsa area, last year’s winner, SeekingSitters, has gone on to nationwide fame by being named one of the “Best Women-Owned Companies” in the U.S. for 2008 by Working Mother Magazine.

If you’re the owner or developer of a business which is less than five-years old and/or with equity capital of less than $1 million, then you ought to think about jumping into the competition.  With the first place prize a grant worth $25,000, which can be used in whatever way you wish, this is a great way to get exposure, grow your business and improve the economy in the City of Tulsa.  And the $5,000 for 2nd place or $2,500 for 3rd place are not shabby grants either.

You don’t have to be currently “successful” in your business today.  Struggling but viable businesses which have the potential for significant growth are also encouraged to participate.  What the judges are looking for are businesses that will contribute to the Tulsa economy through the creation of quality jobs and an increase the City of Tulsa tax base. 

So how do you get involved in the process?  First, obtain the application at http://www.tulsaspiritaward.com/.   Once that is submitted, begin preparing or updating your Business Plan Executive Summary which must be provided for judging by May 14, 2008.  On June 4, judging will be completed and the top 25 businesses will be notified.  Those competitors will then prepare a full business plan to be submitted by June 25, 2008, and develop a formal 7-minute presentation for review on July 9 and 10.

That July review will narrow the field down to 12 semi-finalists who will be assigned business coaches to help them refine their plans for submission on August 20 and a formal 5-minute pitch on September 3.  Seven finalists will be chosen to hone their plans and presentations for another 2-minute formal appearance before the judging panel on November 5.  The judges will then determine the winning plan and make the award at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum on November 18, 2008.  The top award will go to the team that shows it can execute its plan, has a realistic financial plan and projections, exhibits a strong marketing and public relations strategy, and identifies a viable market in which the product or service can grow and expand.

But perhaps the best part of this competition is the chance to develop your business plan with the help of the 30 professional coaches.  Particularly if you are an entrepreneur with a good idea, but are just not too sure how to grow, this program offers a view of other businesses and how they have developed.   Many resources are made available by several local companies and business leaders.  To start you out, you may want to attend the Business Plan and Entrepreneurial Resources meeting at the Central Park Community Center, 1028 E. 6th Street, on April 17, 2008, from 5:00pm – 7:00pm.  No fee or registration is required.  Go for it!

About the Author:
Karen is the owner of The KanDo™ Organization with her husband, W. David O’Brien, an Enrolled Agent tax accountant.  KanDo™ Virtual Administrative Services specializes in legal assistance, focusing on transcription and writing.  A third leg of the business is a mobile notary service.  Call 918-798-8908 for more information.