As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers across the U.S. have pivoted towards entrepreneurship, both by choice and necessity. At Tulsa Housing Authority (THA), we’re supporting our residents’ and voucher holders’ dreams of owning their own business through the innovative Building Our Tomorrow Microgrant program.
The brainchild of THA’s President & CEO, Aaron Darden, the Building Our Tomorrow Microgrant program supports THA residents and voucher holders in their pursuit of self-sufficiency by providing $10,000 in grant funds to program participants who either currently own or who want to launch their own business.
Participants are connected with the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) where they must complete TEDC’s Small Business university (SBu). Through the SBu, grant awardees will learn the necessary skills for building resilient and successful small businesses. Courses are taught by subject matter experts using a hands-on approach and cover topics such as Accounting, Marketing, Self-Employment, Business Planning and more.
“Entrepreneurship is a proven path to self-sufficiency, so to have the ability to support our residents and voucher holders in their entrepreneurial endeavors is incredibly exciting,” said Ginny Hensley, APR, THA’s Vice President of Communication & Public Affairs and the program’s administrator. “We want to serve as a safety net for Tulsa’s most vulnerable when they need us, and while they’re with us as residents or voucher holders, we want to connect them with resources to help them thrive and to move toward self-sufficiency.”
Residents of THA properties and those with a housing voucher administered by THA are eligible to apply to the program. A committee will review all applications and make selections to determine who will participate in the program.
The program’s first cohort included three entrepreneurs in various stages of business development. Their businesses include a nail salon, a cleaning service and an inflatables rental company.
Delissa Miller, program participant and owner of Lissa Nailed It, a nail salon, said of her experience, “The Building Our Tomorrow Microgrant program has been the biggest blessing for me! The classes alone taught me so much in my newfound business world! You will not be at a loss in any way to participate in the program; it has given me the chance to be self-sufficient for myself and my family and to give back to my community. I am forever grateful!”
To learn more about the Building Our Tomorrow Microgrant program and to apply for the next cohort, launching later this year, visit https://www.tulsahousing.org/community/building-our-tomorrow-microgrant/.