The Forge hosts grand opening of new space9.27.2012
TYPros small business incubator, The Forge, finds permanent home in Wright building
Renovations have been underway for months inside the Wright Building, as Tulsa’s Young Professionals (TYPros) prepared the space to become a new permanent home for The Forge, a small business incubator founded by TYPros.
With the help of a federal grant from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, The Forge opened the doors of its new permanent home on September 27. In its new location, The Forge can host up to seven businesses at once, with co-working space for up to 25, where entrepreneurs can gather to network with a community of like-minded people, exchange ideas and possibly meet future business partners. Tenants are provided 24 hour access to their office space as well as many core services including utilities, phone and internet access, office supplies and meeting spaces.
The newly renovated space boasts an urban style which exudes the kind of energetic and innovative atmosphere where great ideas come to life. However, it wasn’t just a fresh look which prompted The Forge to relocate from its former home in One Technology Center.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” said Brian Paschal, executive director of The Forge and TYPros. “The new space is more than just a new look; it really allows us to expand our services,” said Paschal. The move comes in unison with a new partnership with the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC), which now shares the new location with The Forge.
TEDC is a direct lending program dedicated to promoting and sustaining small business growth in Tulsa. Additional resources on site include a full-time representative from the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center (OSBDC), the state’s most comprehensive business assistance network.
Rose Washington, executive director of TEDC, stated: “Through our partnership with The Forge and the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, we are combining a variety of support and resources into one location. The goal is to connect aspiring entrepreneurs with all of the guidance and resources they need to start, grow and succeed in the business world.”
The Forge hopes the combination of resources in one location will create an entrepreneurial hub that will positively impact economic development in the region. Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett expressed his support for the new facility and commended The Forge on combining resources that will help Tulsa attract and retain creative, innovative individuals and create jobs.
Bartlett stated: “The city of Tulsa believes in growing our economy from within. We know that sometimes, the best business plans are those jotted down on restaurant napkins. We also know that oftentimes, small businesses need help and guidance in order to succeed."
In addition to resources provided by TEDC and OSBDC, Forge tenants also receive a free one-year membership to the Chamber, a resource that Dixie Agostino, founder of Switchgear Search and Recruiting, says helped her build business acumen and establish the legitimacy of her business. “As a Chamber member, you have access to market research and a network of mentors and small business owners who have faced the challenges of starting a company,” Agostino said.
Switchgear joined The Forge last year and has experienced growing success. According to Agostino, in just eighteen months, the venture has added one part-time and five full-time employees and revenue is steadily growing. That growth is allowing Switchgear to establish itself independently from The Forge. The company remained in One Technology Center when The Forge made its move.
As some tenants establish success and with it independence, new tenants arrive with fresh ideas, ready to be forged into formidable businesses. Gina Bradford, founder of Bradford Technology Services, and The Forge’s newest tenant stated: “I am thrilled to be joining The Forge right on the cusp of opening its great new space. With all of the resources that The Forge provides, I’m confident I’ll be able to expand my company’s services and further develop a client base.”
The Forge is currently looking for additional tenants to join Bradford and others in the new space. There are currently five tenant openings, as well as openings for co-working space. “With the new space, we have plenty of room. We hope more entrepreneurs will take advantage of all the great resources we’ve combined here,” Paschal said.
Those interested in applying to become a Forge tenant can find more information and an application on The Forge’s website: www.TheForge-Tulsa.com.
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