1. The Energy: Despite what some may think, low gas prices haven’t forced the oil capital of the world’s energy companies to their knees. On the contrary, the rise of natural gas was the spark that made a flame and infused Tulsa with loads of energy. For the entrepreneur, this means benefitting from the nation’s lowest energy costs, as well as a cornucopia of opportunities to support growing businesses in the energy sector.
2. The Money: While Silicon Valley is home to many angel investors, there are plenty of opportunities for financial backing in Tulsa. Investors abound, both public and private, as do affordable loans offered by the local government. Even better, Oklahoma has a Small Employer Quality Jobs Program, which offers financial incentives for businesses that move to or expand within the state.
It’s important to remember, too, that investors who don’t live in Oklahoma aren’t confined within the borders of California. If they see an opportunity, they’ll invest, regardless of where a business is located.
3. The Savings: Luckily, all those loans and investments won’t be used on cost-of-living expenses. On average, Tulsa residents pay only half of what San Francisco residents pay. When you’re running a small business, those savings can be the difference between success and bankruptcy.
4. Putting the “Art” Back in Startup: While there are plenty of business reasons to move your startup to Tulsa, there are creative ones as well. Tulsa knows this and makes a concerted effort to support the arts and exciting startups. This is perhaps best illustrated in 36 Degrees North, Tulsa’s new basecamp for entrepreneurs that’s located in the Brady Arts District.
And who knows? Maybe it will be your startup that puts Tulsa on the map as the Silicon Valley of the future.
Per Bylund is assistant professor of entrepreneurship and Records-Johnston professor of free enterprise in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. His areas of research are entrepreneurship, management, and economic organization. Connect with him on Twitter.