Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

SpiritBank/Tulsa Community College Entrepreneurial Spirit Award Getting Ready for Another Round

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

SpiritBank/Tulsa Community College Entrepreneurial Spirit Award Getting Ready for Another Round

Article excerpt

Jim East always expects passion and energy from the entrepreneurs he coaches during the annual SpiritBank/Tulsa Community College Entrepreneurial Spirit Award competition.

"But I am surprised by the range and sometimes the downright weirdness of the ideas people come up with to make money," said East, who is one of the judges for the Spirit Award. "But I love the unique ones, where I say to myself, 'Why didn't I think of that?'"

Entries are being accepted through midnight Monday for the fifth annual SpiritBank/Tulsa Community College Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. Thousands of dollars in prize money and coaching from local startup experts are made available for top contestants.

The organizers expect another group of high-caliber entrepreneurs, said Albert C. "Kell" Kelly, CEO of SpiritBank.

"During the past four years of the competition, we have seen tremendous growth and a substantial economic impact on the city from many of our past contestants," Kelly said.

Tulsa Community College is committed to supporting the "ecosystem for entrepreneurs," said TCC President Tom McKeon.

Anyone with an original for-profit business model - from idea up to five years in operation - is eligible to apply.

Besides East, who is the principal at business consulting company Strategies for Oklahoma LLC, judges include Ted Cundiff, SpiritBank president and co-chairman for the Spirit Awards, and Sean Griffin, Spirit Award co-creator and visual thinker.

Griffin said that during the last three years he's noticed the significant increase in the quality and quantity of entrepreneurs entering the competition.

"Many of the entrepreneurs are coming into the award process highlighting their business model right from the start," Griffin said. "When we first started the Spirit Award very few, if any, knew what a business model was."

The Spirit Award coaching process changed the perceptions of what it takes to launch a startup and now people are working on their business models before they think about a business plan, Griffin said. …

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