Sharing the Love for OVF
An interview with Cara Evans
by Dennis Spielman
As a board member of the Oklahoma Venture Forum, Cara Evans uses her background in entrepreneurship to enhance the community. After completing her studies in Stillwater, she entered the commercial construction field, actively engaging with various subcontractors and gaining experience in freelance work.
In 2008, Cara embarked on her entrepreneurial journey by starting her own company and becoming the first tenant in an Enid-based incubator. Her involvement with an angel fund and graduate work in entrepreneurship further solidified her passion for creating opportunities and bringing ideas to life. While working in the career tech system, Cara continued to pursue her self-employed endeavors, primarily in professional services.
Over the past 11 years, Cara Evans played a significant role in supporting entrepreneurs in an incubator and entrepreneurial support position. She has accumulated diverse experiences working with numerous clients and contributing to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. According to Evans, the Oklahoma Venture Forum is a pivotal hub in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
She believes OVF fosters a dynamic community of service providers, founders, VCs, funders, angels, banks, and educational institutions. This diverse demographic slice creates a unique networking experience that attendees can leverage through targeted introductions from the OVF board or in-person power lunches.
The emphasis on building relationships is complemented by intentional programming that exposes attendees to new company pitches, regulatory and technological advancements, and subject matter experts. Additionally, the OVF's podcast provides a valuable resource to those interested in a deeper dive into relevant topics within the entrepreneurial sphere.
Evans said that, when compared to other networking events, "there's something different from actually sitting down at a table and sharing a meal and having dedicated time to converse and solidify those types of relationships that OVF offers.”
With the next Power Lunch falling on Valentine's Day, the Share the Love event aims to celebrate the collaborative spirit within the entrepreneurial community, particularly focusing on inclusivity and breaking down barriers for newcomers. Drawing inspiration from a recent startup census that gathered data across the state, the Share the Love event highlights the ecosystem's interconnected nature, emphasizing how the forum has facilitated meaningful connections.
The event will feature a diverse panel representing various OVF member types, from founders to sole proprietors, corporates to incubators, showcasing the accessibility and versatility of the community. Attendees can anticipate discussions on the benefits of OVF membership, personal experiences in the ecosystem, and insights on how different members contribute to the thriving entrepreneurial landscape.
"We want to drive home that the community is accessible and full of people that want to support your venture and your dreams and just why being involved matters," said Evans. "There are so many ways to get plugged into OVF. No matter what level, it's accessible.”
While methods like cold calls and emails may yield results, Evans said OVF provides a unique platform where a community of like-minded individuals is ready to facilitate connections. This tight-knit community doesn't guarantee immediate outcomes, but it allows for the planting of seeds that may flourish over time. In a realm where faces become familiar and events transform into opportunities to discover individuals who can address specific needs, the OVF stands as a bridge, connecting people and fostering relationships.
"It's nice to be like, 'Oh, hey, I've never had this particular need before, but now I know who handles that,'' said Evans. "Relationships make the world go round. That's really what it is. A lot of times in entrepreneurship, you're investing in the person.”
Cara Evans will speak alongside other panel discussion participants at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, February 14, 2024. The event will be open to members and guests in person at the Metro Tech Spring Lake Campus (1900 Springlake Drive in Oklahoma City) and via ZOOM.
Established in 1987, Evans said the Oklahoma Venture Forum stands as one of the longest-standing organized groups in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, offering reliability, consistency, and a valuable network that transcends time, fostering enduring relationships and providing a consistent platform for engagement every second Wednesday.
Register for the February 14, 2024 OVF Power Lunch