Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Businesses Born in 16 Weeks with New Tulsa Community College Program

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Businesses Born in 16 Weeks with New Tulsa Community College Program

Article excerpt

Shelley Bedingfield was working as a graphic designer and printer when she was inspired to decorate walls with her distinctive vinyl designs.

"As a housewarming gift, I wanted to do a wall wrap for my sister's new home," Bedingfield said. "Everybody loved it and I thought I ought to do this for a living."

Bedingfield applied for a program at Tulsa Community College and was accepted to be among the first group of participants who took part in the Launch Your Entrepreneurial Journey program.

Bedingfield and the rest of the class "graduated" last month during a ceremony at the Center for Creativity in Tulsa. She and 14 other people spent 16 weeks learning about how to start a business from local coaches who have experience in new business development. She has since started her own business.

"We wrap walls with a high-definition printed vinyl that provides amazing detail, color and richness," said Bedingfield of her company, WallStruck LLC.

In May, 62 people applied for the program, said Sean Griffin, TCC Entrepreneurial program director.

"We interviewed 33 entrepreneurs before inviting in the 15 that went through Launch Flight I," Griffin said. Another class, called Launch Flight II, will start in October. The application deadline is Sept. 20.

Tulsa Community College has introduced a new philosophy in instruction designed to appeal to creative and emerging entrepreneurs, said TCC President Tom McKeon. McKeon wanted the college to take a nontraditional approach, teaching students the steps required to take an idea to the marketplace.

"We did not want a normal classroom experience," McKeon said.

The foundation of the course was pairing students with "thought partners," or coaches, McKeon said. These coaches already had significant reputations in new business development.

"We took these applicants and paired them with 15 experienced individuals and allowed them to network with their thought partners to get the one-on-one help with their startup idea," McKeon said.

The value of the partners who coached and mentored the entrepreneurs is more than $62,000, Griffin said.

"If someone was to go out and hire them to help with their business startup, that would be the cost," he said. …

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