Over the past year, Tulsa has seen strong growth in women entrepreneurship, access to loans and other capital, and continued support for small businesses and innovation from local government.
Those are the top successes of the past year indicated in the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation's fourth annual State of Entrepreneurship report.
The percentage of local companies at least half-owned by women climbed from 40 percent in 2016 to 50 percent this year.
"This is good news because we know that women invest more of their income into the health and education of their families than men do, which has an overall positive impact on social and economic attributes of our communites," said LTFF Grant Manager Natalie Deuschle.
The City of Tulsa views entrepreneurship as an economic development strategy, because, as Mayor G.T. Bynum said, major companies’ average lifespans are down two-thirds from 50 years ago.
"The days of a city like Tulsa being able to rely on a couple of big employers that we can always count on to be there is a thing of the past," Bynum said.
Downtown Tulsa has become the unofficial hub for entrepreneurship in the city, but the city could benefit from spreading the wealth around. That’s a main opportunity identified by the report.
Resources and support programs started in recent years have tended to physically cluster within the Inner Dispersal Loop.
"While this has contributed positively to the vibrancy of one neighborhood in our city, there are many neighborhoods and neighbors that feel excluded," said LTFF Chief Operations Officer Meredith Peebles.
The report also noted more Tulsa entrepreneurs have been able to attract investors or get loans this year, but they’re having trouble finding skilled tech workers and getting their products past the testing stage.