Build in Tulsa lifts up Black entrepreneurs

by Sydney Anderson
Build in Tulsa lifts up Black entrepreneurs
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After the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Build in Tulsa launched, which is a company that helps minority entrepreneurs, who have been denied funding and proper resources, elevate their businesses. Build in Tulsa strives to close the racial prosperity gap by mobilizing the establishment of multi-generational Black wealth through industrial and entrepreneurship. 

As a new organization, one of its main objectives is to please the people, which is why Build in Tulsa speaks with entrepreneurs about how they can improve to help them succeed with their businesses. In addition, the company is crucial in building the community by forming a community of administrators who benefit from one another to formulate Black excellence.

At Build in Tulsa, The Black Wall Street Times spoke with Ashli Sims, managing director at Build in Tulsa, who provided me with further insight on the company. Build in Tulsa works to build an ascendable, duplicatable innovative ecosystem to adapt the fabrication of generational prosperity. Across the United States, Black entrepreneurs have been historically marginalized, so the company assists them in refunding for those decades of lost wealth.

According to Sims, “you are only limited by your own personal ingenuity.” Build in Tulsa believes that if they can help Black entrepreneurs build human, social, and economic capital, there are no limits in how their businesses can transcend.  

Build in Tulsa creating ecosystem to foster Black startups

For human capital, Build in Tulsa provides:

  • workshops
  • one-on-one coaching
  • an accelerator capital that is at the center of the organization. 

To strengthen social networking, Build in Tulsa holds several networking events to connect Black entrepreneurs with the proper foundation and resources. When it comes to entrepreneurship, the company knows that it can be very lonely, so they host these events for entrepreneurs to step out of their comfort zone and meet new individuals who will help empower their business. This helps entrepreneurs meet potential buyers, customers, and investors. 

With economic capital, Build in Tulsa supplies introductions to investors and venture capitalists while also providing direct financial assistance. The organization tackles obstacles several Black entrepreneurs face by supplying them with free co-working space or cost of living support. 

They have a program called “Entrepreneurs in Residence”, where entrepreneurs apply and can receive a desk for six months. Moreover, it includes free coaching so they can build those capital skills. Along with co-working space, Build in Tulsa assists with housing by helping pay for rent for the individuals enrolled in one of their accelerator programs. Lastly, Build in Tulsa has “Female Founders Pitch Night,” where seven female-led teams learn how to start their company, improve their confidence, and establish relationships with shareholders and Tulsa ecosystem developers.

In the spirit of Black Wall Street

At Build in Tulsa, programming is essential, as they partner with many companies, such as ACT Tulsa, Lightship Foundation, and Techstars, that match networking, skill development, and financing to invigorate Black entrepreneurs. The accelerator programs transcend entrepreneurial business, providing them with a small percentage of capital. For instance, ACT Tulsa gives Black entrepreneurs a $70,000 non-dilutive grant, not equity-based. Once entrepreneurs hit certain milestones in their company, the $70,000 loan has to be repaid.

To the general public, Build in Tulsa provides tools and resources to build a better business, notably how to formulate a better tech-enabled business. They do this through programs and workshops about how to fundraise for a company.

“The great thing about Black Wall Street is because of the time and Jim Crow and other laws that restricted the Black Community to a certain segment in town, those business owners relied on one another. They shopped with one another, were customers with one another, and hired one another. We need to capture that spirit of community because that led to success and the amplification of Black excellence, which Build in Tulsa is trying to capture and generate. The sense of community within the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tulsa,” Sims said.

At Black Wall Street, a White mob’s destruction of 36 square blocks never killed the entrepreneurship of Black Tulsans.

“Entrepreneurship runs in our veins,” Sims added.

Through their company, Build in Tulsa nourishes the Black community and brings individuals together, while placing a spotlight on Black excellence not only in Tulsa but throughout America.

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