Tulsa spreads economic competition to sister cities
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
2/13/13 at 2:21 PM
Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Tulsa City Council members announced a new entrepreneurial program partnership that will connect the Tulsa-based StartUp Cup business model with Tulsa’s sister cities.
The new program will create new, locally-run StartUp Cup competitions in these cities with the goals of creating jobs and businesses as well as strengthening Tulsa’s economic relationships with its sisters, Bartlett said.
“This is a further step of our outreach as a community into the global markets that give us great opportunities to expand our trade,” he said.
The program will have no cost for the city, Bartlett said. Cities that agree to participate will receive access to websites, online support, marketing templates and coaching from local entrepreneurs who can relate their successes and failures.
Tulsa’s eight sister cities include Beihai, China; Amiens, France; Celle, Germany; Tiberias, Israel; Utsunomiya, Japan; San Luis Potosi, Mexico; Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Zelenograd, Russia.
So far Amiens, San Luis Potosi and Zelenograd have shown interest in becoming founding members in the program.
StartUp Cup was founded in late 2011 in Tulsa with the goal of providing communities with the structure, tools and support to produce a successful business-model competitions in order to promote job creation.
Sean Griffin, CEO of StartUp Cup, said he approached the city about a partnership with the sister cities in order to help build further economic bonds as well as showcase local talent nationally.
“As a native, I’m passionate about seeing Tulsa showcased on a national level,” he said. “The entrepreneurs we have here are representative of great entrepreneurs worldwide.”
StartUp Cups are open to any business idea, and is targeted to startup businesses without resources or prior experience in an effort to stay small and local.
To date, 361 startups have participated in nine StartUp Cups around the world, leading to the estimated creation of 474 jobs.
The organization is also an official partner with the U.S. State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program. During the launch conference Shelly Porges, director of the Global Entrepreneurship Program at the U.S. State Department, said via teleconference the program is an incredibly important launch, as well as a great example of U.S. entrepreneurship at work.
“This pilot program holds the promise of improving economic and commercial ties, as well as relations, with cities around the world and will help grow entrepreneurialism in Tulsa’s sister cities,” she said.
City counselor Blake Ewing, who is also on the Economic Development Commission city board, said the program won’t just help the various sister cities, it will also help encourage the development of new businesses and jobs in Tulsa and showcase the area’s entrepreneurial spirit.
“We’re at the beginning of something exciting, and five and 10 years from now, people around the world will recognize that entrepreneuriship comes from Tulsa, and that there’s no better place to be if you’ve got a big idea and you want to create something,” he said.