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April  2018

The 2018 Finalists Have Been Determined

Cool Times Two: Tulsa’s Entrepreneurial Basecamps

Dustin Curzon
36 Degrees North

Written by: Lori Williams

How cool is 36 Degrees North? It’s an entrepreneurial basecamp in the heart of the Tulsa Arts District. This is a place where 45 different industries utilize options ranging from coworking, 24/7 coworking, desk, and office spots. “Our physical space is really a means to an end to build community and build the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says Dustin Curzon, the founding Executive Director. “That’s really our sweet spot. And we believe that’s the best way to get people the things they need to build successful businesses.”
36 Degrees North also happens to be the latitudinal line that runs through the basecamp. Opened in early 2016, the space was full within nine months. “We thought there was some pent-up demand in the community, says Dustin, “but we knew it wasn’t a fluke when the space remained consistently full for another nine months.” All of the spaces operate on a month-to-month membership system and there are no long term leases to sign. But once entrepreneurs see the location that looks more like a New York City Loft than a sterile office suite, signing up is a no-brainer. “My favorite spot, besides the dedicated staff space in the back where I can see everything that’s going on, is the freight elevator,” says Dustin. “Our building was a Ford dealership back in the 20s. The freight elevators, which were turned into booths where people can sit and work, are some of the coolest artifacts in the building.”
Less than two years after 36 Degrees North’s opening, Dustin and his team launched Camp II.
Still located in the Arts District, Camp II offers larger office spaces to companies looking to grow and engage with the other Camp II occupants. “It already 2/3 full,” says Curzon. “It’s like a smaller community within the broader 36 Degrees North community.”
How do Dustin and his team achieve community within two separate locations in a diverse arts neighborhood bustling with businesses, restaurants and even a splash pad? It is intentional, and it is effective. “We do a program called Lunch Bunch where our members can opt in and say they’ll go to lunch with other members,” he says. “We curate people into groups and give them a gift card to go to one of the neighborhood restaurants for lunch. It’s one of our favorite programs, and it’s very, very cool.”
“In the process, entrepreneurs learn that something that is a big problem for them may be no big deal for another entrepreneur.”
Along the way the team at 36 Degrees North is also learning how, in Dustin’s words, “to formalize the informal. We can use data,” he says, “as well as structure and process to create more serendipity.”
“At this time we’re also trying to take a break from any more expansion to think about what we want to be when we grow up,” he says with a laugh. “It’s great that right now we have a blue sky opportunity. But we want to be very intentional about the direction we’re heading.”
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Jennifer Smith 

The Forge
Business Incubator, Startup Hub, Coworking 

The mission of The Forge is to accelerate the development and success of start-ups and existing businesses in Tulsa by offering a place where raw ideas and passionate people are shaped into entrepreneurial success stories. We provide a trusted environment, along with a network of mentors, connections and information needed to overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship. 
Since founding in 2005, TYPros aimed to provide Tulsa’s young entrepreneurs with the support of a resource-rich, low-cost incubator program. Hoping to attract and retain innovative young talent, The Forge was created to provide a springboard for their ideas. In 2009, after hundreds of man hours, the first generation of the Forge was open for business.
After spending nearly two years in temporary locations, The Forge finally found it’s home at Third & Cheyenne. Since launching, the program has graduated numerous tenants and is consistently occupied at capacity. The economic impact of the program has surpassed expectations and is now considered the community’s entrepreneurial hub.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy, making up 80 percent of all businesses in Tulsa county, providing a gauge our city’s vitality. Tulsa’s entrepreneurial community is not only growing but, thriving. As the demand for support programs increases, The Forge will continue to grow, expand and meet the need of Tulsa’s growing creative class.

OVF Member Fred Green Retire's as the Director of Launch Pad FT

Fred Green is retiring from his position as the Director of the Francis Tuttle Business Incubator, Launch Pad FT.  As the Director he has served the needs of entrepreneurs starting new ventures as well as owners of early stage companies facing struggles in today’s economic environment.
Business incubation is a process of analysis of the constraints and creation of a program to improve the business and management skill set of an entrepreneur. The intent of the incubation process is to “graduate” the client into the outside world of business better prepared to create a sustainable business that will contribute to the regional economic growth and development.
Oklahoma’s business community, and especially Oklahoma Venture Forum, are the beneficiaries of Fred Green’s dedication to the acceleration of the successful development of entrepreneurial companies. His wisdom and understanding of business development is apparent in the entrepreneurial speakers he has brought to OVF, as well as in the organizations he has helped to succeed. A great respect and appreciation has been expressed by the individuals he has mentored and his fellow OVF members. 
OVF would like to take this moment to give a special thanks to Fred Green for his accomplishments and support of Oklahoma’s business development, despite his University of North Texas Alumni affiliation! 
Happy retirement Fred, your talent and acumen will be sorely missed.
Oklahoma Venture Forum


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