Local business owners got their foot in the door during Wednesday’s “Get Started Tulsa” event, with one Tulsa teenager taking home a $10,000 grand prize package to get her business going.
Cook Time with Remmi won $5,000, one year of Cox Business services, Cox Media marketing consultation, Web ads and other rewards.
Founder Remmi Smith, 15, and her partner/general manager Deedra Determan found it hard to put into words the feeling of being able to further their healthy snack-package service for kids, CHEF Club.
“I literally can’t believe this,” Smith said, holding back excitement after the announcement. “When I was standing there, I was like, ‘It’s probably not going to be us.’ Everybody else was super awesome. We’re pretty awesome, too, but you never think it’s going to be you.”
Four panelists picked Cook Time with Remmi out of five entrants who each gave a 2½-minute pitch, similar to the popular TV show “Shark Tank.”
The judges based their decision on the pitch itself, the implementation of a business plan and the potential impact on the community.
Smith’s CHEF service, which stands for “Cook Healthy Exercise Frequently,” offers a monthly subscription service where parents can order a box filled with healthy snacks, cooking utensils and items such as jump ropes to promote exercise that will be delivered to their door.
Smith and Determan made the pitch together, bringing with them a prototype box. The logistics will be taken care of in Tulsa, with Smith’s relationship as student liaison with catering company Sodexo coming into play as a means to fill the boxes with food.
Now with winning Wednesday night’s grand prize under their belts, the CHEF Club is ready to take off.
“We’re going to get some food in our boxes and get them to people,” Smith said.
The benefits of having such an event in Tulsa go beyond the winner, said Ken Kraft, vice president of marketing with Cox Business.
“It’s just an opportunity for us to bring the startup community together in Tulsa into a single location — let them mingle with experts, people who have already been down that road, to ask some questions and learn some things,” he said.
There have been “Get Started” events in other places, but Tulsa had more applications for entrants than any other — more than 70, which had to be whittled down to five — in its first year.
Take 2: A Resonance Cafe, garnered several questions during the audience Q&A portion of the event. Founder Deidra Kirtley, who heads the nonprofit Resonance Center for Women, plans to open a downtown restaurant at 309 S. Main St. where incarcerated women can find a job and have a place to live upstairs soon after getting out of prison.
“We’re not necessarily trying to teach food service — we’re trying to teach skills that are transferable, like sales, awesome customer service, marketing — things that they can use in all kinds of different positions,” she said.
Case workers with Resonance will work with the women to find other jobs and scholarship opportunities. Being downtown at the former Grand Selections space, there’s a lot of opportunity for a new restaurant to thrive.
Rupesh Agrawal promoted AmbreHealth Inc., a health-monitoring company featuring software and hardware that tracks sleep patterns that are associated with heart problems, potentially bypassing often costly, invasive procedures to detect sleep apnea and other sleep-related issues.
Co-founders Ryan Parker and Carter Jarrett pitched their idea to launch Spokto Beverage Co., which specializes in carbonated, cold-brew coffee. They brought sample bottles for each of the panelists to taste, and all of them said they enjoyed it.
David Smith, a welder of more than 40 years, presented his company, Iron Worker Clothing, which provides durable, low-cost clothing for workers at construction sites, shops and other venues while they’re on the job.