Entrepreneurs Compete

Tulsa, Okla. – Competitors in the Spirit Bank/Tulsa Community College Entrepreneurial Spirit Award will face the next round of competition tomorrow, with the first of three pitching rounds.

They will have 7 minutes to pitch their original business model, followed by 8 minutes of detailed questioning by judges.

Twenty-five teams will be pitching their models tomorrow, selected from nearly 100 applicants who entered the contest in April. Twelve will move on to the next round of pitching, and the final winners will be announced Nov. 16.

Ted Cundiff, president of Spirit Bank, will be one of the judges.

"We really want to look at their model and make sure that it is the most viable to create jobs and also to create money and value for them," Cundiff said.

The first prize winner will receive $30,000, second will receive $5,000 and third will receive $2,500.

Cundiff said that although the money is helpful, the coaching and evaluating that contestants and winners receive throughout the process can be just as valuable.

Past winners include SeekingSitters Franchise Systems, Inc., a babysitting referral service with locations in over a dozen states, and Grisio.com, a comparison grocery store shopping site.

This year, Cundiff said, "We have a real wide range of anywhere from products and services to franchise ideas so it'll be exciting to see the first pitch and see who makes it through to the next round."

The award was started by Mayor Kathy Taylor during her tenure in City Hall as a way of encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation in Tulsa. One of the requirements for winners is to relocate or open a franchise of the business in Tulsa.