Black Businesses

Positive Changes for Tulsa’s Young Black Professionals 

By Nehemiah Frank and Assistant Editor Charity Marcus

Tulsa is growing, and city yuppies are excited to open companies in America’s number one ranked city for young entrepreneurs. That’s right, Tulsa is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for incubator businesses, and that’s according to Forbes magazine. The conditions are so good even young African-American professionals are feeling positive about their futures.

First, Tulsa has a new, hip, young mayor, who was recently featured in a TedTalk. Mayor G.T. Bynum, at 40, brings a new energy to the city. Second, he’s transparent and inclusive in his approach to governance, making his city an attractive place to reside for all. No matter your race, religion, or sexual orientation, Tulsa is the place where anyone can grow and pursue their dreams.

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Photo Credit: Mike Simons @mikesimonsphoto – Tulsa World

Although Black Wall Street is relatively empty at the moment, ambitious African American business owners are welcome to build their future in other spaces in Tulsa.

Leadership and mentor groups are conveniently located throughout the city, teaching business basics, leadership, and entrepreneurship. 36 Degrees North is one of many locations where young entrepreneurs, of any race and creed, are being cultivated and are brainstorming for the next innovative ideas that will push Tulsa into what looks to be a bright future.

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Networking events coupled with social mixers are the newest in-thing to attend for young up-and-coming. Tulsa natives Nate Goodman and Brandon Oldham are two of the many young black professionals that are doing something positive for the rapidly growing community in Tulsa.

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Brandon Oldham

“Whenever we travel to other cities, we notice the majority of young black professionals hosting networking events where there’s drinks, good music, and food. We wanted to bring that idea here [Tulsa]. We wanted to create a safe space where people who look like us feel comfortable and would feel whole no matter what their background was,” Oldham said.

Oldham currently works for the mayor with two other young black professionals Jonathan Townsend, who ran for Oklahoma State Representative last year, and DeVon Douglass J.D., the city’s chief resilience officer.

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Nate Goodman

“Our goal is to host these events once a month. We’re planning to host the next Black Out event on Memorial Day or the Sunday afternoon before,” Goodman said, Goodman, an entrepreneur himself, is the event coordinator. Goodman and Oldham encourage individuals who plan to attend their next Black Out event to bring business cards. “You never know who you’re going to run into,” Nate says.

The entrepreneurial spirit that inspired the Black Wall Street is still alive and well in Tulsa’s Gen X and Millennial generations.