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Economic Impact of Tulsa Area Entrepreneurs

KWGS News File Photo

A report released today by the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and Tulsa Community College StartUp Cup shows the StartUp Cup competition for entrepreneurs has had a significant economic impact creating 300 full-time jobs and 2,000 part-time or contract positions and adding more than $85.1 million to the Tulsa economy.

“Local entrepreneurship is important to the success of Tulsa’s economy with entrepreneur and small-business ventures accounting for 82 percent of our business community,” said Elizabeth Frame Ellison, Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation Executive Director. “This report illustrates the success entrepreneurs can have when they are coached and mentored through the TCC StartUp Cup by successful entrepreneurs.”

Since the competition began in 2007 as the Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award under then Mayor Kathy Taylor, $254,000 has been awarded to entrepreneurs with a follow-on investment of $11.6 million which means for every $1 invested there has been an additional $45 dollars invested in the startups. The TCC StartUp Cup is designed to support entrepreneurial growth, expand business and community connections, and maximize promotional opportunities both locally and nationally. The newly released report shows 70 percent of TCC StartUp Cup finalists are still in operation compared to the national average of 25 percent.

“The partnership between the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and TCC StartUp Cup is about helping entrepreneurs thrive and grow so jobs and dollars are added to the economy,” said Dr. Brett Campbell, TCC Southeast Campus Provost who leads entrepreneurial initiatives at the college. “One of the most valuable aspects of this business model competition, based on feedback from the participants themselves, is the coaching and mentoring offered to entrepreneurs during the process.”

The Tulsa Community College StartUp Cup promises new features and added benefits in the 2014 competition based on feedback from prior competitiors. The business model competition, powered by the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, features a streamlined five-month competition window. While coaching and mentoring are still key features of the competition, TCC StartUp Cup officials shortened the time between rounds with the judges and eliminated one round of the competition. The 2014 competition begins by narrowing the field of applicants to the top 12 entrepreneurs. The top 12 will pitch their business model and product to a panel of judges who will select the final six. The top prize winner will be announced on Nov. 18 during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The TCC StartUp Cup and Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation will present the first place winner with $30,000; second place, $5,000 and third place, $2,500.

The 2014 competition started with a kickoff event June 24 at Foolish Things Coffee Company, 1001 S. Main Street. A new feature of the kickoff was a three-minute pitch competition with the winner receiving a $500 prize. The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation sponsored the pitch prize as well as the nearly $38,000 in prize money given to the top three finishers in the TCC StartUp Cup.

Entrepreneurs may enter their business models into the competition beginning June 24.  Applications will be accepted at tcc.startupcup.com through July 14.   Interested startups can view the official rules on the website to determine their eligibility and learn what’s involved to become the next winner of the TCC StartUp Cup.