ENCOURAGING ENTREPRENEURS: Present at The Forge opening are, from left, Michael Christian, TYPros chair and a Bank of Oklahoma vice president; Brian Paschal, TYPros executive director; Amie Roberg, Forge founder, TYPros Business Development Crew leader and CastleCom co-owner; Don Walker, president and CEO Arvest Bank; Karisha Arnett, Forge executive director, former TYPros Chair and vice president of the Next Division for Arvest; and Steve Malcolm, chairman Tulsa’s Future Oversight Committee and president and CEO, Williams.
Tulsa’s Young Professionals recently announced the launch of The Forge, a business center created to accelerate the development, success and sustainability of start-ups and existing small businesses in the region.
The Forge, located at 206 S. Cheyenne Ave., includes a physical space where small businesses can office, a meeting place for entrepreneurs, and a resource of knowledge for creating the next generation of business leaders. Tenants of The Forge will include both small businesses owned by young professionals and those which cater to the young professional demographic.
“By opening the doors of The Forge business development center, Tulsa’s Young Professionals is continuing the legacy of entrepreneurship in Tulsa,” says Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.
ros opened The Forge, a project its Business Development Crew worked five years to complete, to attract, retain and support aspiring entrepreneurs, create jobs and stimulate the economic development of Tulsa.
“The Forge is tangible proof of what happens when minds come together united in making Tulsa a better, more prosperous city for all of us,” adds Michael Christian, 2010 ros chair and assistant vice president of alternative investments for Bank of Oklahoma. “It’s a project unique to our region, unique because it was created by young professionals for young professionals.”
The Forge building at Second and Cheyenne in downtown Tulsa is a temporary location and will host up to nine businesses. Currently there is one tenant, Bonvoy Adventure Travel, and applications are being accepted for the remaining spaces, made available at an affordable cost.
Tenants at The Forge will be provided core services including utilities, phone and Internet access, office supplies and meeting spaces. The current building is scheduled for demolition in two years. However, more than 60 ros volunteers spent 600-plus hours renovating and remodeling the space to meet its needs in the interim.
Throughout the demolition and construction process, sustainability remained a priority for the project. For instance, salvageable materials were sold for reuse, items were refurbished and repurposed and low-energy appliances were installed.
“The Forge is committed to reducing our environmental footprint, and we are asking the same from young entrepreneurs who become tenants here,” comments Christian.
Don Walker, 2010 Tulsa Metro Chamber chair and president and of Arvest Bank, said The Forge is one of TYPros’ most significant accomplishments and one that will have a lasting impact.
“The talented young professionals who make up the ros organization, architects, artists, engineers, business owners and others, play a vital role in the long-term economic health of Tulsa,” says Walker. “When you create a place like The Forge where raw innovators are given the support, resources and know-how they need to build successful, sustainable companies, you revolutionize the business community.”
Arvest Bank is the founding sponsor of The Forge and has provided a loaned executive to head the project. Karisha Arnett, vice president of the Next Division at Arvest and a former ros chair, will serve as executive director at The Forge.
Benefactor sponsors include Cox Business, Glass Wilken, Jay & Associates, Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and Tulsa’s Future, Inc.
For information about The Forge, eligibility and tenant selection criteria, visit www.TheForge-Tulsa.com or call (918) 574-8700.