Today, the City of Tulsa, Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) and Tulsa Development Authority (TDA) announced plans to provide $4 million to support the Greenwood Entrepreneurship Incubator @ Moton (GEIM), a new entrepreneurship hub in North Tulsa.
The Tulsa City Council is expected to vote on the budget amendment authorizing the expenditure at its regular meeting at 5 p.m. on June 2, 2021.
The $4 million budget amendment will include funding for:
$2.5 million to redevelop the historic Moton Health Center (later renamed to Morton Comprehensive Health Services) at Pine St. and N. Greenwood Ave. into an incubator space where North Tulsa entrepreneurs can turn their entrepreneurial vision into a reality
$500,000 to support the launch of MORTAR Tulsa, a TEDC accelerator that leverages the expertise and talent of the local community through a 15-week course where entrepreneur cohorts develop their ideas into successful businesses
$1 million to seed the Build Tulsa Fund, a pool of financial resources for businesses participating in GEIM, MORTAR, and other programs for under-resourced entrepreneurs building in North Tulsa
“GEIM will couple a beautifully restored location with culturally-competent curricula, access to capital and other knowledge resources that will nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of Black Tulsans for years to come,” TEDC Chief Executive Officer Rose Washington said. “TEDC is grateful for the opportunity to lead this project in partnership with other organizations that support small businesses as engines of economic development, job creation and wealth building. We are excited to help celebrate the spirit of Historic Black Wall Street in a historic space where greatness was literally birthed through the lives of many Black Tulsans.”
The budget amendment will be funded through State reimbursements backed by COVID-19 relief funds. TEDC aims to start project design later this year.
"From distributing millions in COVID-relief loans to supporting local entrepreneurs, TEDC Creative Capital is an invaluable resource to Tulsa’s small business community,” Mayor Bynum stated. “I am thrilled to continue our work with Rose Washington and her team to launch GEIM and see its success in the coming years.”
GEIM is a three-part program, which includes a physical incubator space at the historic Moton Health Center on North Greenwood Ave. and East Pine St. The space will serve as an entrepreneurial accelerator program ran by MORTAR Tulsa and the Build Tulsa Fund to provide financing opportunities to entrepreneurs in North Tulsa. GEIM will provide the space, training, networking, and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs to build their business and create new jobs for Tulsans.
“For far too long, Black entrepreneurs have not had access to the space and resources to turn their ideas into thriving businesses,” District 1 City Councilor and Council Chair Vanessa Hall-Harper said. “GEIM will create an ecosystem of support and accelerate the revitalization of Greenwood and help rebuild the legacy of Black Wall Street by providing a hub of entrepreneurship where Black Tulsans can find the support and financing essential to launching their small businesses to create economic opportunity and build generational wealth.”
GEIM is part of the larger future development of the mixed-use Morton’s Reserve at the historical Moton Health Center. In addition to GEIM, Morton’s Reserve is currently planned to include single-family housing, multi-family housing, and retail space. Both GEIM and Morton’s Reserve are in the planning phase with additional design details anticipated this summer.
"When envisioning Morton’s Reserve, I could not have imagined a better partner to lead the redevelopment of the historic Moton Hospital,” said Michael Smith, the master developer over Morton’s Reserve. “TEDC's decades of experience will turn the hospital into the entrepreneurial and small business hub of North Tulsa.”
TDA and TEDC will facilitate the incubator's construction through a partnership and development agreement. TDA is also facilitating the redevelopment of the broader Morton’s Reserve project.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the bedrock of local economies, and a critical part of any neighborhood revitalization effort,” said Steve Mitchell, chair of TDA. “The history of Greenwood is one intimately linked to the power of entrepreneurship. As we approach the Centennial of the 1921 Race Massacre, TDA is honored to have a chance to play a small role in revitalizing Black Wall Street.”
While construction of GEIM and Morton’s Reserve is forthcoming, TEDC and MORTAR Tulsa are currently accepting applications for their first and second cohorts in their entrepreneurial accelerator. Cohort 1 launches on July 7, 2021, and Cohort 2 launches on September 1, 2021. The program costs $295 and scholarships are available to all applicants.
For more information about MORTAR Tulsa and how to apply, visit: https://tedcnet.com/learning/mortar/