Tulsa Named the Best City for Women Entrepreneurs

A recent survey by the Thumbtack Journal found that Tulsa is the best city in America for women to start a business, and to be honest, we're not surprised. Our city is full of great resources and a thriving community of diverse entrepreneurs- including numerous incredible women. And much to our delight, many of those women call 36 Degrees North home.

Many of our female members have similar backstories. They say, in other cities, they felt like outsiders, constantly fighting to get attention, make connections and convince investors to commit. But they discovered that in Tulsa, that's not the case.

News on 6 Anchor Erin Conrad talked to 36°N members Tammy Torkleson, the founder of Indigo Technology, and Kourtney Brooks, founder of KB Skincare, about how they ended up in Tulsa and why they stayed.

Click the video below to see Erin's report.

At 36 Degrees North, our mission is to provide entrepreneurs with a high-quality workspace, meaningful resources and a diverse community of passionate individuals. Here's a list of free events and local organizations catered specifically to female business owners:

  • Nerdy Girls: Shut Up & Work: a monthly meetup to get work done and do a little socializing 
  • Tulsa Women's Business Breakfast: a free, bimonthly breakfast for Tulsa business women to network and learn from their peers
  • Women's Free Coworking Day: a monthly event to get away from the distractions at home and knock out a ton of work (free wifi, bottomless coffee and free childcare included)
  • REI Women's Business Center: an organization designed to help Oklahoma’s enterprising women wanting to explore the opportunities of starting or expanding a business
  • RailsBridge: a free bootcamp for women interested in computer programming (no experience necessary)

There are also many co-ed organizations and events that our members have found helpful. Here are a few:

  • 1 Million Cups: a weekly event for entrepreneurs to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors and business owners to get feedback and support
  • Tulsa Startup Series: a competition designed to help entrepreneurs get more funding for their ideas- it's like Shark Tank for Tulsa!
  • Kitchen 66: an organization to help food start-ups by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, a comprehensive business development program, tailored advising, and a robust network of mentors and distributors
  • Cultivate 918: an organization that provides a comprehensive listing of all Tulsa entrepreneurship-related events, activities, announcements, conferences, meetups, startups, etc.
  • The Forge: an incubator designed 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

If you're a woman entrepreneur looking for some support, we'd love to have you join our community!
Click here to take a tour and meet our staff.


Women and Ruby and Rails, Oh My!

Code. /kōd/ verb: to write a set of instructions for a computer program

Almost everything we use in our happy little 21st century lives can be linked to coding. Computer programmers, often called “coders,” use different computer languages to build websites, apps, software, gadgets, etc.

But to the average Joe like you and me, coding is a mystery. We see it as an occupation reserved for “smart people” like the cast of the Big Bang Theory. We would never picture ourselves as part of that world (heck, we can barely upgrade our iPhones half the time).

 36°N member and Rails Bridge Instructor  Wassim Metallaoui teaching his new students

36°N member and Rails Bridge Instructor  Wassim Metallaoui teaching his new students

But maybe we should picture ourselves in the coding world. Right now, there are over a million tech jobs available in the United States, with salaries starting at $80,000/year (now we have your attention, right?). But the big problem is breaking into the industry without a background in computer science. Up until this point, we’ve been disconnected. We’ve all been like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, being told to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Well now, one organization is working to push back that curtain and make coding careers more accessible- especially for those who are under-represented in the tech world.

The group is called RailsBridge, and it’s designed for people with zero coding experience. Here’s how they explain themselves:

“RailsBridge workshops are a free and fun way to get started or level up with Rails, Ruby, and other web technologies. Our events focus on increasing diversity in tech, so that people of all backgrounds can feel welcome and comfortable in our industry.”

If words like “Rails” (a computer framework) and “Ruby” (a computer language) confuse you, you’re not alone. The people who go through the Rails Bridge program don’t really understand them initially either.

When 36°N member Wassim Metallaoui heard about RailsBridge, he knew he had to bring it to Tulsa. So he recruited some help, and last month, they hosted their first weekend workshop for ten women who knew little to nothing about coding before they began. With the help of five volunteers, these ladies took their first step towards a potential new career.

Tulsa RailsBridge plans to hold a workshop once a quarter for anyone and everyone interested in getting their feet wet in the coding world. The next one will be in January 27-28, 2017.

 Tulsa's first Rails Bridge class meeting at 36 Degrees North

Tulsa's first Rails Bridge class meeting at 36 Degrees North

Till then, check out these different monthly meetups to meet coders of all skill levels and get a little exposure to the growing industry:

Tulsa Entrepreneur Creates Comfortable Place for Breastfeeding, Working Moms

As any new mother knows, there is an extensive list of new challenges that arise when caring for a newborn: figuring out how to understand the baby's needs, finding time to sleep, getting personal to-do lists complete, hunting down quality childcare, making all the right decisions when it comes to food and diapers... The list goes on and on.

But another, less-obvious issue new mothers face is finding a place to breastfeed or pump in public and at work.

36 Degrees North member Stephanie Conduff discovered first-hand the need for a space to breast pump when she went back to the office after having a child. After doing some research, she realized most working moms have to pump in bathroom stalls or utility closets, which often discourages mothers from providing breastmilk for their children.

So, in an effort to make a change, Stephanie got connected to the Forge, Tulsa's leading business incubator, and created the Leche Lounge, a portable lactation suite.

The Leche Lounge's mission is to encourage working mothers to pump breast milk by providing a more comfortable and cleanly space for them to do it.

Companies can rent or buy the suites to install in their offices. Fulfilling the requirements of pumping laws created by the Affordable Care Act, the Leche Lounge comes equipped with a hospital-grade breast pump (proven to express milk faster), a USB charger, fan, food-grade seating and a mirror to readjust clothing. The units are also stocked with cleaning wipes for pump parts and calming, lavender wipes for refreshing the space between guests.

Stephanie says she can also see the suites being used in stadiums, airports and convention centers.

Want to see the Leche Lounge in person? Come to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 36°N on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016. Stephanie will present at 1 Million Cups at 9:00am and cut the ribbon at 10:00am.

Can't make it to the ceremony? Here's a look at the Leche Lounge on Good Day Tulsa.

A Little Taste of Our History

The building that currently houses 36 Degrees North has a rich history. Did you know it was originally a Model T dealership back in the 1920's? And it's been through a lot since then.

Retrofit Magazine recently published an awesome article on how we went from dealership to entrepreneurship. If you're an architect or history buff, we highly recommend taking the time to read it.

Here are a few pictures to show you how the character of the original Universal Ford Building has been preserved...

 The Original Universal Ford Motor Company building in the Brady Arts District

The Original Universal Ford Motor Company building in the Brady Arts District

 36 East Cameron Street: current home of 36 Degrees North and Prarie Brewpub

36 East Cameron Street: current home of 36 Degrees North and Prarie Brewpub

 In our classroom, the windows and bricks are restored to reflect the original design

In our classroom, the windows and bricks are restored to reflect the original design

 The old freight elevator has been converted into a booth on each side

The old freight elevator has been converted into a booth on each side

 Original concrete pillars in the designated desk area

Original concrete pillars in the designated desk area

 Garage doors separate rooms in the building (making it easy to turn two smaller rooms into one large room)

Garage doors separate rooms in the building (making it easy to turn two smaller rooms into one large room)

Oklahoma Innovation Institute Launches Two New Programs in Tulsa

Tulsa is a GREAT place for entrepreneurs... and it's about to get even better thanks to our friends at the Oklahoma Innovation Institute.

The institute is launching two new programs this summer: a community technology commercialization platform and BetaBlox, the startup accelerator that focuses on entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur training and mentorship.

We're excited to see how these new resources grow and develop in the months and years to come!

You can read all about the new programs on the Tulsa World website.

Coming Soon to the 36°N Big Screen: DESIGN DISRUPTORS

We are excited to announce that we'll be hosting a special screening of the movie DESIGN DISRUPTORS next month!

Today's most disruptive companies have a new guiding principle: a fierce focus on customer-centric product design. DESIGN DISRUPTORS features an elite group of 15 disruptive companies-valued at one trillion dollars combined-who share the perspectives and sacrifices necessary to upend age-old industries and disrupt the status quo.

Join us on Tuesday, August 16 at 6:00pm to see this dynamic new film. Admission is free.

Special thanks to the folks at Acrobat Ant for making this possible!

Who run the World? girls. Especially in Tulsa.

The wise Queen Bey (aka Beyoncé) once said... "This goes out to all the women... We're smart enough to make these millions. Strong enough to bear the children then get back to business... Who run the world? Girls."

If you're sitting at your computer thinking, "wait what?!" let's break this down for a second...

We're at a point in time when women across the world are tackling a LOT. They're leading countries. Becoming the face of major corporations. Challenging stereotypes. Fighting for civil rights. Here in Tulsa, some of our biggest foundations are run by women. Many of our favorite bakeries and clothing stores and spas were founded by women.

But often, when you're starting out, it's not near as glamorous as all that sounds. Especially if you have kids.

Example A:

"When I was on a conference call and my son came into the room naked while playing the harmonica, I knew it was time to stop working from home." -Nicole Morgan, Owner of Resolute PR, 36°N Member

As Nicole further explains in a recent Tulsa Kids article, being both a mom and a successful business woman can be challenging. But it IS doable.

At 36 Degrees North, we have made it our mission to help entrepreneurs create impactful, long-lasting businesses. If you feel like Nicole felt, and you need to take that next step, come as you are. Mess and all. We want to connect you to valuable resources, a quality workspace and a like-minded community.

Because you too can run the world.

Want to join our community of driven women entrepreneurs?


Using Your Success to Give Back to Others

A little inspiration for the week ahead...

The CEO of Chobani Yogurt started with nothing and eventually created a company worth billions (yes, billions with a B) of dollars. Take a couple minutes to watch this awesome story on how he used his success to give back to his employees.

May we all be entrepreneurs with dreams to serve more than ourselves.


"A Code of Their Own" Girls Coding Camp

This week, the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance is hosting a computer coding camp for female students (4th- 9th grade) to give them extra exposure to quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. 30 girls are learning all about computer programming through hands-on training and fun exercises on Chromebooks, provided by Google. In addition, Tulsa-area teachers are getting special training on how to incorporate basic computer science concepts into their lesson plans and how to mentor students interested in STEM projects.

On Friday afternoon, both the girls and teachers will share what they've learned in a fun presentation. Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist will be in attendance.

Love the 918: A Summer Intern Series

We're pleased to announce our newest program coming to 36 Degrees North this June. "Love the 918" is a free, four-part series to get young professionals engaged and excited about life in Tulsa. It's designed for any intern or college student working in the Tulsa area this summer.

Each of the four events will feature a panel discussion on different topics.

-June 15: Play: Hear from local musicians and venue owners on how to experience the best music Tulsa has to offer

-June 29: Eat: Local chefs and restauranteurs give the scoop on the best eats- and deals- in town

-July 13: Work: Get a leg up on the job search and learn how to get your foot in the door at some of Tulsa's fastest-growing companies

-July 27: Live: Real estate pros explain how to find the perfect place to call home.

This is a joint initiative by the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Tulsa Young Professionals, Project Boomerang and 36 Degrees North.

Thanks to News On 6 for featuring the series on 6 In the Morning!