Tulsa's Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016: RECAP

This year's Global Entrepreneurship Week was one for the books! Thank you to all the people who helped make it happen including the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, Kitchen 66, the Oklahoma Innovation Institute, Prodigy & Co, Tulsa Tech, GradeDeck, Cook Time with Remmi, Forrest Hull, Sooner Marketing Solutions, i2E, BetaBlox, 1 Million Cups Tulsa, utown, Project 1948, the Tulsa StartUp Series, the Forge Tulsa, the OSU School of Entrepreneurship Riata Center, and the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

Check out some of this week's highlights in this video created by Buddy FX.

How to Maximize Your GEW Experience

By: Dustin Curzon, Executive Director of 36 Degrees North

Global Entrepreneurship Week starts on Monday, and it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year. It’s a celebration of Tulsa’s entrepreneurial community - the ideas, the companies, the people and the successes we’ve seen as a community over the past year. This year, we have an amazing, diverse set of events for experienced entrepreneurs and those just starting out. Here are 5 tips to get the most out of GEW:

 
 

1. Show Up
It’s easy to think that the best thing for your business is to stay home and work. While that’s sometimes true, it’s also crucial to the success of your business for you to learn from and network with people who can help propel you forward. You don’t have to go to every event - choose a few that are right for you and make them a priority in your schedule.

2. Come Up With 5 Questions to Ask
What hurdles are you facing? Who’s someone you’ve always wanted to meet in Tulsa? Most events will include Q&A time - this is a great opportunity for you to get answers from experts on your most pressing questions. Who knows, maybe someone else will have the same question.

3. Meet Someone New
Some people love networking. For others, it’s really hard. Guess what? Everyone else feels awkward too! So take a chance, find someone new at the event and find out who they are and what they’re passionate about. Remember those five questions from tip #2? Turns out, those are great conversation starters.

4. Bring your Partner, Investor or Customer
GEW is a great opportunity to spend time with your co-founder or investor and not just talk about how you’re going to survive another month. Use this time to talk about new opportunities and what’s next for your company. Plus, it gives you a boost for meeting new people.

5. Think About Next Year
One of the great things about GEW is that it provides an opportunity each year to reflect on the past and look towards the future. Where do you want to be by the next GEW? How are you going to get there? It’s time to set some goals.

It’s not too late to register for most GEW events. For times and locations, visit the Global Entrepreneurship Week Tulsa website.

See you there!

Fixed Gear Bike Company Moves Shop, Goes Global

A popular bike company is amping up its game with a big move to the heartland.

Wabi Cycles is a boutique bicycle company that designs and builds beautiful fixed gear road bikes. Unlike many bike companies, Wabi has no middleman, so they can offer customers the best possible product at a lower price.

Wabi Cycles was originally located in Los Angeles but was just moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma by 36 Degrees North Member Curtis Kline. Curtis says he was drawn to Wabi because it was owned by passionate people who made a fun, quality product. He decided to buy the company because the product had great reviews but was very under-marketed. Curtis says Wabi had no important ties to the Los Angeles community and could be located nearly anywhere, so he brought it back to Tulsa, his hometown.

Now, in addition to their brick and mortar store, Wabi Cycles ships bikes around the world. Curtis says, as the company gains global traction, he hopes to take Wabi to the next level by developing new bikes for genres like cyclocross and adventure touring. His ultimate goal is to make Wabi Cycles a big brand with a wide range of high-quality bikes.

WABI CLASSIC   •Beautifully constructed bike at a great price •Reynolds 725 lightweight tubing •Hand tig welded frame •Superb component group

WABI CLASSIC

•Beautifully constructed bike at a great price
•Reynolds 725 lightweight tubing
•Hand tig welded frame
•Superb component group

WABI SPECIAL   •Reynolds 725 tubing, lugged and brazed •Chromoly fork •The most comfortable Wabi to ride •Superb component group

WABI SPECIAL

•Reynolds 725 tubing, lugged and brazed
•Chromoly fork
•The most comfortable Wabi to ride
•Superb component group

WABI LIGHTNING SE   •Columbus Spirit ultra-lightweight tubing •The lightest Wabi available •Carbon fiber fork •Great for acceleration and climbing

WABI LIGHTNING SE

•Columbus Spirit ultra-lightweight tubing
•The lightest Wabi available
•Carbon fiber fork
•Great for acceleration and climbing

WABI LIGHTNING RE

•Our only geared bike
•Columbus Spirit ultra-lightweight tubing
•Hand tig welded frame
•Carbon fiber fork

When Musicianship Meets Entrepreneurship

Musician. noun \myü-ˈzi-shən\ : a person who writes, sings, or plays music

The Webster’s Dictionary has a pretty basic definition of what a musician is. But what do you think of when you read the word musician?

You may think of a glamorous star living it up in Los Angeles or Nashville. A person who got a one in a million chance to make it big.

On the other side of the spectrum, you may think of a passionate yet struggling artist who works in a coffee shop during the day and plays at little, local venues at night. Music might be his passion, but it’s definitely not how he makes his living.

But is there a middle ground? Can a musician make a living doing what he loves without a huge record label behind him? And if so, how? How do you get people to hear your music without making it big or jumping from bar to bar, praying that someone will buy your CD?

One local musician would say it all starts with creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset.

Barron Ryan is a pianist known for his catchphrase “classic meets cool.” He recently recorded a new jazz album, and it. is. GREAT. Barron spent literally thousands of hours writing, practicing and recording the tracks for the album he’s calling “The Masters’ Apprentice.” He says the music is crafted to tell his personal story of resilience and to “encourage others who are struggling to know that someone else is going through the same thing and cares about them.”

 

But here’s the thing. No matter how good the music is, it won’t gain much traction without effective marketing and packaging.

Because let’s be real. A burned CD in a cheap, plastic sleeve doesn’t exactly say “legitimate artist.” If I took a great piece of expensive, Swiss chocolate, wrapped it in a generic chocolate wrapper and had some guy at the park offer it to you, would you take it? Of course not. It doesn’t matter how great that chocolate is. You’ll never know because of the way it was presented to you.

See, for an album to get attention, it can’t just have great music on it. You have to edit and license the music, design the album art, duplicate it, and then promote the music on various platforms to convince people that they can’t live without it.

And all of that, of course, requires a good chunk of money.

So our friend Barron is raising that money by launching a Kickstarter campaign. He’s taking on the challenge to be a creative entrepreneur- on top of being a musician- to take his product to the next level.

The process started long before the Kickstarter actually launched. Barron and his team created teaser videos for Facebook, did a fun, campaign countdown on Instagram, and hosted a big concert before ever pushing the button to make his campaign begin. And so far, it seems to be working. In just 12 hours, he raised almost half of his $10,000 goal.

He now has 17 days (until November 4, 2016) to raise the other half of his goal, and he’s confident he’ll succeed. Here’s why:

Barron’s theory throughout this whole process is that, if people are investing in his music, they’ll be more likely to care about his success. In his Kickstarter video, he tells potential supporters, “You have the opportunity to help take this project from my computer hard drive, where it currently lives, to the masses.” When we chatted with him the other day, he also told us, “With this Kickstarter, people can say, ‘Whatever success happens, I was part of that.’ And that’s a pretty cool feeling.”

So whether you’re a musician or another kind of entrepreneur, we encourage you to get out of your box. Think creatively. Find a way to build a team who wants to be part of your success. Barron says you’ll be glad you did.

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Don’t know where to start? We can help.
Want to contribute to Barron’s Kickstarter campaign? Click here.

Tulsa Teen Talks About Her Experience on the Food Network's Chopped

36 Degrees North Member Remmi Smith is a junior at Bishop Kelley high school. She’s also a chef and entrepreneur, known for her show Cook Time with Remmi. She started cooking when she was 7-years-old, and recently took her experience to the next level by appearing as a competitor on the Food Network’s Chopped: Teen Challenge.

We sat down with Remmi to hear about her experience and get an insider’s look at one of America’s favorite cooking shows.

Transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

How did this all start? Why did you want to go on the show?
I was actually contacted by the Food Network casting agency to be on Chopped Junior. Once we started the process, they realized I was too old for that show (the cutoff is 13, and I was 14 at the time). So then, about a year later, they called us again to say they were doing a teen tournament, and of course, it was something I couldn’t pass up!

Where is the Chopped studio?
It’s in New York City. They film the show right above Chelsea Market. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but Chelsea Market is beautiful. It’s incredible. They have all these different food shops and boutiques, and it’s a super place to explore. So after we filmed, that’s what my mom and I did. One of my traditions is, whenever I go out of town, I always get something for each of my siblings, so that was a perfect place to do that.

What did you have to bring with you and what did they provide?
They gave us the opportunity to bring our own knife set, but I don’t have one of my own, so they provided one for me. They also had every ingredient you could ever want stocked in the kitchen. The night before the taping, they took us on a tour of the pantry, so we’d be prepared. You absolutely cannot bring your own ingredients.

Walk us through the beginning of your day, before the competition began.
We met up at a hotel at about 7:30am and had breakfast there. You could tell everyone’s nerves were going. The room was pretty silent. Then the producers took us to the studio, and we put on our jackets and waited for the crew to get in place. While we were waiting, we got to talk to Ted Allen for a bit. That was SO cool. Then we did the introduction part a couple times (it's so fun hearing Ted read your bio), and they got a few shots of us opening empty baskets so they could get a close-up of our hands. Then we were sent out of the room while they put the actual ingredients in the baskets.

Is Ted as cool as he seem?
Absolutely. He’s a really chill guy, and he’s willing to help you if you need it.

Did you know the mystery ingredients ahead of time?
No, you don’t know what the ingredients are until Ted is announcing them. When that happened, my mind just really started to whirl.

So for those who didn’t watch the episode, what were your mystery ingredients in each round?
Appetizer:
Korean Short Ribs
Apple Green Tea Coolers
Gorgonzola Dulce (really fancy cheese)
Brussels Sprouts

Main Course:
Skate Wing (similar to a stingray; the meat is like a white fish)
Rainbow Pasta
Giardiniera (pickled, italian veggie medley- very bitter)
Bok Choy

Dessert:
Pate A Choux (light pastry dough used for cream puffs)
Cherry Tomatoes
Balsamic Jelly
Chocolate Milk

What was your strategy?
To make something I already knew. I didn’t want to go out of the box and get too crazy. The Chopped Kitchen is not the place to experiment with new techniques, so I went the safe route.

Were you nervous during the competition?
Actually, I think I was way more nervous beforehand. But once I actually started cooking, everything just came to me naturally as if I were at home. I mean, that clock was awful! But other than that, everything felt pretty normal.

How long do you have to wait between each round?
You get judged right after the round is over, and then you sit in that back room for about 30 minutes while they clean up and decide who’s going to be chopped.

When you're watching on TV, and they’re about to chop a contestant, there’s suspenseful music and a long pause. Did you actually stand there in awkward silence for that long before Ted announced who was chopped?
Yeah. And he actually does a few takes saying “And the person on the chopping block is…” without finishing his sentence. It builds a lot of anticipation!

For those who don’t already know, how far did you make it in the competition?
I made it to the dessert round, so I got second place.

Where does that exit hallway lead to?
It leads you to a door at the back of the studio. I actually had to do my exit a couple times so they could get the shot just right. One time, I almost walked into that sliding glass door because I wasn’t paying attention. *laughs* But it was fine.

How long did it take to shoot the episode?
About 14 hours. I started at 7:30am and ended at about 9:00pm. Then the next day, I had to go in and shoot all those interview segments that you see during the cooking part.

Oh, so you taped all of that after the fact? Not between the rounds?
Yeah, there’s a producer who watches the competition and writes down every little thing that happens. Then she jogs your memory the next day. At first, it was a little bit weird because they want you to speak in the present tense. But once I got going, I really got into it, and it only took a couple hours.

Do all the competitors get some sort of prize?
Nope. For the teens, even the person who wins that episode doesn’t win anything. Only the overall tournament winner gets a prize.

What were the judges like?
I was actually super scared of Maneet [Chauhan] before the competition because, from what I’ve seen in the past, she’s really focused on transforming the ingredients. I was scared that I wouldn’t change them enough for her… but evidently I did! Aarón [Sánchez] was super chill. He’s a really nice guy. And Scott [Conant] is one of the most wise judges. They don’t show you a lot of the stuff that they say to us- because obviously there isn’t time. But he gave us such good advice.

Did anything about the experience surprise you? I’m sure you did a ton of research ahead of time, so was there anything that threw you off?
The timing really caught me off guard. I thought 30 minutes would be plenty of time to do something, but when you’re in the kitchen and the pressure is on, it goes by so quickly.

What was your favorite part?
I loved talking with the judges. They are culinary experts, so getting their feedback on my food was crazy. It’s honestly unbelievable. I also liked getting to meet other chefs my age who can cook at a gourmet level. It was really inspirational, and it challenged me to get better.

What was your least favorite part?
Getting Chopped. *laughs* I really had the best experience. Oh, but… I did have a mini freak out in the dessert round. Thankfully they didn’t show it on TV. I was trying to find this pie tin, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I kept asking the crew if they could show me where it was, but they wouldn’t answer. It made me really frustrated. That was really the only negative part.

What’s next for you as a chef, as an entrepreneur, and as a student?
As a chef, my hope is to start a food blog. I think it’s a really neat idea to share my recipes on a wider platform. Plus I think it’d be really fun because I like talking to people about food, and that could be an easy way to do that. As an entrepreneur, I’m working on an advertising push for the Chef Club Box, to really get the product out there. And as a student, standardized testing is my next big battle. *laughs*

What would you tell other kids who want to be chefs and maybe end up on Chopped some day?
I think the best thing to do is go with your gut. If you really have a passion for something, you should go for it. A lot of times, other people will say you’re too young or too inexperienced. What you need to do is prove them wrong. Go out and get experience. Go out and research and learn and then, ultimately, prove them wrong whenever you’re on Chopped :)

Editor’s Note: Do you want to meet Remmi in person? She’ll be appearing on a special panel for Tulsa’s Global Entrepreneurship Week on Tuesday, November 15 called “I’m a Student Entrepreneur.” Click here for more details.

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: