Tulsa-based 36°N leverages power of place
By Scott Meacham
© 2015 BH Media Group Holdings, Inc.
There’s a grassroots trend afoot in entrepreneurship that’s really gaining steam. I’m going to call it the Power of Place.
This idea starts with the concept of critical mass.
In physics, critical mass is defined as the amount of a given fissionable material necessary to sustain a chain reaction at a constant rate. It’s the same equation in entrepreneurship — collective strength sufficient enough to have a big effect and achieve big results.
The big results that we are seeking is, of course, are new jobs and wealth creation. (Recent analysis by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce of i2E’s active portfolio showed economic impact of $228 million and 2,427 jobs.)
To drive up job creation and wealth in Oklahoma, “all” we have to do is increase our critical mass — the number of people who want to and can be successful entrepreneurs and then boost the quantity of fundable deals those entrepreneurs produce.
Here in Tulsa, there are a lot of resources aimed at accomplishing that, and now there’s one more — 36°N, a self-described 24/7 basecamp that gets to the Power of Place.
36°N was created to be the go-to location for entrepreneurs who seek help identifying and navigating the support and capital resources available in Tulsa.
“Our goal isn’t to create another resource or program but to leverage all the ones that exist,” said Dustin Curzon, executive director of 36°N. “Our role is to play matchmaker. It’s difficult today for entrepreneurs to find the right resources
36°N wants to make it easy for new and experienced entrepreneurs to form community with other entrepreneurs.
A vision of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Tulsa Regional Chamber, 36°N isn’t an incubator like the chamber’s program, The Forge. However, entrepreneurs do have a choice of work spaces that range from open co-working tables to furnished offices.
There are also offices for partnering organizations. Tulsa Technology Center, the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University plan to have staff on site. i2E is also a programming partner and plans to have a presence.
“People needed a gathering point, a place where entrepreneurs and organizations can cross paths,” Curzon said. “We also want a broad range of companies sitting next to each other.”
Entrepreneurs can sign up for 36°N membership now. There are already firms in industries as diverse as food, journalism, software and alternative energy.
36°N is critical mass statement about the power of organizations being non-territorial and coming together to achieve synergy and exponentially increase the power of support for entrepreneurs.
That’s the power of place.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.