Seed Money Offered To Spur Development

Wednesday, November 19th 2008, 6:53 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- There's a new effort to find entrepreneurs willing to invest in north Tulsa.  There are not enough businesses in north Tulsa to supply what people want to buy.  With a new effort, entrepreneurs can be matched with franchises and financing, if they're willing to live and work in north Tulsa.

Five years ago, Anthony Ingram quit his office job and bought into a restaurant franchise.

"And, I was putting in a lot of man hours there, so I thought I could put in a lot of man hours for myself," said Subway owner Anthony Ingram.

With a loan and advice from the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation, he opened a Subway restaurant and now he has three.

There's a new initiative in north Tulsa to duplicate that kind of success.

"We are ready to empower people who live in this community to explore their entrepreneurial spirit and pursue the new American dream of business ownership," said Rose Washington Rentie with the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation.

One of the big goals of the initiative is to build more businesses in north Tulsa to give people who live in the area a chance to spend their money in north Tulsa.

A group of political and business leaders has come up with a million dollars of tax money to help finance new franchise businesses in north Tulsa.

"Those people who don't even live in this community sat down with those who do and they helped formulate the plan and I think that's when things work is when you've got everybody involved trying to make it happen," said Tulsa City Councilor Jack Henderson.

Ingram was one of the first successes of a similar, but less comprehensive plan to build business in north Tulsa.  He believes there's money to be made in other businesses, and doesn't regret betting his business future on north Tulsa.

"Without a doubt I would go for it all over again," said Subway owner Anthony Ingram.

The seed money for the loans comes through the city and federal governments.  The idea is to encourage entrepreneurs to open small retail franchises.