Female factor

There’s risk in any venture, but women entrepreneurs are taking the chance on themselves and their ideas in Tulsa. And it’s paying off.



Melanie Smith

Valerie Grant

Overcoming challenges

By Anne Brockman

 

Recently, Thumbtack.com named Tulsa the No. 1 city for women entrepreneurs, citing the optimism women have in their business prospects and a community supportive to female business owners.

“There are a lot of great companies here, a lot of great entrepreneurs, and statistics like that are a rallying point for the broader community that says there is some validation happening here,” says Dustin Curzon, executive director of 36 Degrees North. “It also raises the bar for our community. And it makes us ask the question as programmers, ‘How do we live up to that and make it a reality?’”

Although women represent 50.8 percent of the U.S. population, only 35.5 percent of entrepreneurs are women, according to the 2017 State of Entrepreneurship by the Kauffman Foundation. Research shows women excel in entrepreneurial roles but still face unique barriers, including a lack of mentorship, the misguided masculine perception of entrepreneurship and the additional pressure to maintain a work-life balance with family responsibilities.

At 36 Degrees North, a basecamp for entrepreneurs that provides workspace, resources and a diverse community of members, 39 percent of its members are women.

Among them is Melanie Smith. The Arkansas native moved to Tulsa to attend the University of Tulsa, where she earned her doctorate in computer science. After years employed with several organizations, she began working with 36 Degrees North. But while at the entrepreneurial hub, she caught the bug to start her own company, Blue Tree Data Consulting, in early 2017.

36 Degrees North is an entrepreneurial hub that hosts women-specific  events throughout the year. Pictured at the downtown Tulsa center are Operations Manager Shanese Slaton, Executive Director Dustin Curzon and Communications Coordinator Lauren King. Photo by Valerie Grant.

 

“It has taken the fear away of starting my own venture,” Smith says of working from 36 Degrees North. The networking opportunities there have helped her lay her company’s groundwork, as well as connect her with future clients. Blue Tree Data Consulting is already doing business, and Smith expects $150,000 in revenue this year.  

Financing remains one of the biggest challenges with any start-up, but especially those owned by women, who begin companies with nearly half as much capital as men. Women only receive 4.4 percent of small business loan dollars — that’s $1 of every $23 in conventional small business loans — according to a report by the U.S. Senate. Women are one-third as likely to access funding through outside investors or venture capital, according to the Kauffman Foundation. 

To help provide meaningful and strategic mentorship opportunities, Curzon says 36 Degrees North will roll out a mentorship program, which will provide matchmaking, meetup space and training for interested individuals, both male and female. 

Gender-specific entrepreneurial events remain an integral part of networking for women, according to Curzon and Smith, who cite solidarity and relatability as key benefits to events of this nature. 

36 Degrees North provides physical space and hosts women-centric programming like women’s co-working day, Curzon says.

Research shows that women have a more strategic view and heightened sense of risk when it comes to starting a business, which often correlates to greater success. But they have to take that first step.

“Walk it out,” Smith says of her own experience. “Don’t let fear be a hindrance. Take one step at a time.”

Learn more about 36 Degrees North.

 

Balancing act

New coworking facility assists ‘momprenuers’ 

By Morgan Phillips

 

For many parents, juggling work and child rearing can be a major barrier to starting their own businesses. A new resource in midtown seeks to help Tulsa entrepreneurs balance the two.

The Work Life Balance Studio at 3144 S. Winston Ave. offers shared office and conference space in a kid-friendly environment that encourages parents to work with their children in tow. 

The company is the latest venture of Adrienne Kallweit, co-founder of the successful SeekingSitters franchise. At the Work Life Balance Studio, a SeekingSitters-member babysitter is available to provide on-demand childcare while kids’ parents work on site. This service is by reservation and for members only.

Like 36 Degrees North, the Work Life Balance Studio offers various membership levels that allow parents to drop in as needed or rent dedicated office space. Some areas of the facility are adults only, while other rooms allow parents to work alongside their kids.

Young children are provided with age-appropriate activities when they arrive at the Work Life Balance Studio. Hangout areas are available for older children and teens. “The idea is to keep the kids engaged so their parents can work,” Kallweit says. 

For more information, visit coworkingkangaroo.com

 

Find and replace

Tulsa’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year recruits talented pros.

By Julie Wenger Watson

Switchgear Search and Recruiting founder and CEO Dixie Agostino believes the key to successful corporate recruiting isn’t finding the people. According to her, that’s the easy part. Understanding what motivates them is the challenge.

“Breaking up with your work family isn’t as emotional as a romantic breakup, but it has all of the same elements,” says Agostino, who is the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s 2016 Young Entrepreneur of the Year. “People are messy and wonderful and emotional and unpredictable. You have to understand people, or you don’t last in this business.”

Agostino started Switchgear in 2010 after eight years working in transportation logistics. Her company recruits technical talent for engineering, financial and manufacturing businesses.

Dixie Agostino. Photo by Valerie Grant.

“The only skill I had was being able to sweet-talk truck drivers into getting into their truck and doing their job,” she laughs. “And that honestly transitioned into something that paid pretty well.” 

The business has grown exponentially, garnering local and national recognition. Switchgear made the “Inc. 5000” list of fastest-growing companies in 2015, as well as its list of “50 Fastest Growing Women-Led Companies in America” — notably all eight of Agostino’s employees are female. 

Agostino manages her burgeoning business while raising four kids and regularly volunteering at Tulsa’s startup incubators 36 Degrees North and the Forge. She credits much of her own success to the support and mentoring she received from others. 

“Nobody is alone. I would never have accomplished any of these things if it hadn’t been for somebody else,” she says. “Somebody believed in me enough to say, ‘Hey, you should start your own business.’ Somebody gave me a shot to have space at the Forge when I would never have been able to start my own business from home.”

 

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August 2019

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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Senior Star Round-Up - August 18 - Cain's Ballroom - 2 to 5 p.m. The annual Senior Star Round-Up is Sunday, August 18, at the Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main Street in Tulsa. This popular...

Cost: $10

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 N. Main St.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: Senior Star Living
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

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BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE Presents “The Wizard of Oz” (R.S.C.1987) By L. Frank Baum With Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg Background Music by...

Cost: $22-$25

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S Main St
Broken Arrow, OK  Broken Arrow
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Sponsor: Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
Telephone: 918-258-0077
Contact Name: 74012
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Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
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You're invited to our new store Grand Opening Celebration in Broken Arrow, August 21st for an all day event! As you know, this year marks our 30 year anniversary of serving business minded...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stow's Office Furniture
3604 S Elm Place
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Sign up now for the Tulsa Area United Way's 9th Annual Golf Scramble – a local tradition that pairs an enjoyable morning of golf with helping your community.

Cost: $400 per team

Where:
LaFortune Park Golf Course
5501 S Yale Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

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Cost: $52.00

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Downtown Broken Arrow
The intersection of Commercial and Main streets
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Website »

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Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

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Wings, Wheels & Wishes is a fly-in, car and bike show benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma in loving memory of Collinsville Wish Kid, Bill Campbell. Our event features vintage...

Cost: Free to the public

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Airman Acres Airport
12600 N. 73rd E. Ave.
Collinsville, OK  74021
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Telephone: 918-510-3423
Contact Name: Cindi Conner
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  Our 17th Annual CimTel Classic 5K is August 24, 2019! The registration begins at 6:30am and the race begins at 8am at Cleveland High School 600 N Gilbert Cleveland, OK. The entry fee is $25 for...

Cost: 25.00

Where:
Cleveland High School
600 N Gilbert
Cleveland, OK  74020
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Sponsor: CimTel
Contact Name: Allee Pearson
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Maker Faire Tulsa is an award-winning, family-friendly event celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability, and making of all kinds. The 7th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Park Hall at Expo Square
1701 S Sandusky Ave
Tulsa, OK  74112
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Sponsor: Fab Lab Tulsa
Telephone: 918-779-6025
Contact Name: Nathan Pritchett
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Maker Faire Tulsa is an award-winning, family-friendly event celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability, and making of all kinds. In 2019, Fab Lab...

Cost: FREE

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Central Park Hall @ Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
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Bobby O’s Slices + Pies, located in the Meadow Gold District along Route 66, will host a day of meal deals, merchandise giveaways, and kids activities for their Back-to-School Bash. The...

Cost: Free

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Bobby O's
1502 E. 11th St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: Bobby O's
Telephone: 918-586-2455
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Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

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Cost: 59.95

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Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
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Cost: $15,000 - $250

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Assembly Hall - Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
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Sponsor: Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc.
Telephone: 918-688-5022
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Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


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Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
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