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TEDC awards prizes and loans to Tulsa businesses
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TEDC awards prizes and loans to Tulsa businesses

By Dawn Tree, For The Oklahoma Eagle

Three Tulsa businesses took home top awards at the Mortar Program’s Pitch Night competition earlier this month. Eden The Plant House, Know-Ur-Stuff and Scandia Retirement Community won first, second, and third place consecutively. The program, created by Tulsa Economic Development Corporation to help small businesses grow, gave the three enterprises a total of $4,500 in awards. It also gave them $50,000 in zero or low-interest loans.

A panel of Mortar judges made the decisions on the second Pitch Night for the Mortar Program held on Dec. 6, at Tulsa Central Library. Eight entrepreneurs completed the program and pitched their business to judges to vie for the cash prizes and low to no interest loan assistance from TEDC.  

MORTAR is a 15-week course that helps both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs build comprehensive business plans and learn the nuances of business management. TEDC recently brought this program to Tulsa.  

Pitch Night is similar to the ABC hit show Shark Tank. Owners of various businesses give a short elevator pitch to explain the benefit of believing and investing in their companies. The program brings together facilitators, business coaches, guest speakers, and other community supporters who provide critical business entrepreneurship expertise.  

Eden, The Plant House, the first-place winner, received $3,000 in prize money and a zero percent interest loan for up to $50,000. Know -Ur-Stuff received $1,500 and a $50,000 loan at a three percent interest rate. Scandia Retirement Community received the entrepreneurial award of $500.  

Additionally, all eight graduates who made pitches will get a $2,500 loan from TEDC at a three percent fixed interest rate. 

The Oklahoma Eagle asked the winning business owners a few questions. Their reports follow. 

(LEFT) Allison Price-Brown, who owns Eden The Plant House, displayed a collage of other online plant inspired images that she said, “I am influenced and inspired by.”  ALLISON PRICE-BROWN / CONTRIBUTED. (RIGHT) Cynt Simon, Owner of Know-Ur-Stuff Owner. CONTRIBUTED

First Place 

Eden The Plant House
Owner Allison Price-Brown

Tell us more about your business: 

Eden, The Plant House, is a trendy urban upscale plant house that provides a whimsical botanical-inspired ambiance and community access to affordable plant options, gardening activities, and education. We specialize in low-maintenance ornamental plants and want to provide a space where the community can vibe and curate plant creations through interactive horticulture workshops while also providing a sit-down experience for people to grab a drink and connect.   What sets us apart is our commitment to community partnerships and our focus on education and well-being. I am currently in the startup phase and do not have a physical location yet. However, I want to be located in North Tulsa, Historic Greenwood District area. We are looking to open our doors to the public by Spring 2022. Be on the lookout for exciting updates on our grand opening! 

How did you see/appreciate the MORTAR program (Biggest pro and biggest con, if any)? 

I am very appreciative of the MORTAR program as there is so much knowledge and crucial life skills wrapped up in the program’s curriculum. These skills will help participants like me navigate the uncertainties of this entrepreneurship journey. Anyone and everyone who is looking to own their own business can benefit from the program! I especially encourage women to participate in the program because, as we all are aware, the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions has created a gender gap that exists in almost every industry, and entrepreneurship-focused programs like MORTAR allows women to develop their leadership skills, embrace their competitive side, and learn to take more risks. That’s my goal for 2022, to take more risks. I am grateful for organizations like TEDC that create much-needed programs like MORTAR and provide invaluable resources that support aspiring minority and women entrepreneurs. 

I’m looking forward to our continued partnership and excited about making a successful contribution to Tulsa businesses.

What are some challenges you face like a brick and mortar? What are your solutions to those challenges?  

Currently, we do not have a brick-and-mortar facility. But our plan is to have a physical location located in North Tulsa, Greenwood District area by Spring 2022. One challenge I’ve faced in securing a brick and mortar is business property availability in our desired location. Properties are plentiful in other areas of the city, but they are very minimal in the North Tulsa area. Because there’s an urgent need to provide more business access in North Tulsa, our goal is to provide solutions to these problems with a one-stop-shop that teaches sustainable and self-sufficient gardening. We will utilize diverse suppliers through inclusive community partnerships, new jobs, and access to an oasis-inspired work and entertainment space near north Tulsa. The benefits are the positive impact on the community, the Tulsa workforce, and economic development. 

How will you go about securing your location? 

We will go about securing our location by continually participating and seeking funding from amazing programs and organizations such as MORTAR and TEDC.  

What are the benefits of winningthe pitch? How do you feel? 

 Eden, The Plant House, is a vision I have had for a while now. Winning the pitch was another confirmation for me that I’m on the right path of what God wants for my family and me I. Winning has helped me get closer to my goal in seeing my vision come to fruition. I am excited about the many possibilities of Eden The Plant House and can’t wait to see it in the physical finally. It’s incredible, and I’m looking forward to you all experiencing it in the way I have envisioned it for so long! 

See Also

Second Place 

Owner Cynt Simon

Tell us more about your business: 

Know-Ur-Stuff is a Home Inventory Service company, which provides professional inventory services to homeowners and small business owners! Our purpose is to help people to be prepared in the event that they must file an insurance claim for insurance reimbursement. 

How did you see/appreciate the MORTAR program (Biggest pro and biggest con, if any)? 

What I gained from the program were the following things: 

  • The Mortar program is an excellent program for anyone starting a business and is looking for directions as to how to get started.  
  • It’s great for someone already in business who needs to understand critical elements required to run a business.  
  • Having the course facilitated by other business professionals who had firsthand business experience and knowledge to share was the icing on the cake.  
  • It offers an excellent platform for developing my business brand. 
  • It builds confidence in explaining my business to others. 
  • Acquiring knowledge about running my business and developing effective business processes.   
  • It helps with networking with otherlike-minded individuals.  
  • There are so many benefits that the program provides that it should be a must for anyone who’s looking to start a business.   


  • Individuals who don’t have a business idea already planned or implemented should not be allowed to participate—the reason it makes the others who have ideas feel as if they will steal their idea.  
  • Graduation details need to be defined and details provided in writing as to what the graduates are to receive, and it should be provided along with the graduation certificate. Otherwise, you don’t feel like you’ve won anything. 

What are the benefits of winning the pitch? How do you feel?   I feel great about being the runner-up with my pitch.  This program has provided me with confidence in expressing my business pitch to others.  I know I have a good business concept, and the ability to communicate it to others says so much about the business and brand. This is all possible due to the TEDC Mortar Program.

Entrepreneurial Award

Scandia Retirement Community
Owner CJ Swanson

The vision of Scandia Retirement Community is to become a place of desirable housing without yearly rental increases. They provide convenience, connectivity, and safety to residents 65+ in Tulsa.

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