Business idea to next steps in 48 hours

May 4-5, 2024 | Tulsa


About Tulsa Idea Challenge

Unlock your

Have you ever had an idea but you’re unsure if it could be a business or what the first steps are? Whether you are new to entrepreneurship or want to refine your skills, this should be your next step.

Tulsa Idea Challenge is an entrepreneurial workshop and competition for Tulsans to learn how to collaborate and transform an idea into action in just two days. This isn't a hackathon or a pitch competition. It’s an entrepreneurial experience.

Why would I join?

No risk.
High reward.

Tulsa Idea Challenge will connect you with the resources and support necessary to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey.

During this event, you’ll be partnered with another Tulsan, learn how to define a problem and work out a solution through purposefully-crafted exercises.

By the end of Tulsa Idea Challenge, you’ll:

Have the skills and know-how for putting your idea into action
Get referred to local investors, accelerator and incubator programs
Gain the experience and confidence to activate business ideas
Expand your professional and social circles
Earn the chance to win a share of our $50,000 prize pool
Receive $300 for completing the workshop

Total prize pool of $50,000 distributed among the top teams

Prizes will be awarded to teams in a variety of categories, ranging from best overall idea to the most collaborative team.

I'm up for the challenge!

How Tulsa Idea Challenge works

1. Collaborate

You'll be partnered with another Tulsan to tackle a business problem, combine your perspectives, and find a solution together.

2. Ideate

The days are full of guided exercises led by Builders + Backers. You'll learn how to generate first ideas and refine best ideas. Feel free to bring an idea, but keep an open mind. Together, you’ll agree on one idea to move forward with.

3. Create

Through structured working phases, your team will learn the ins and outs of problem-solving. By the end of these two days, you’ll walk away with the skills and know-how to put your big ideas into action.

Start your entrepreneurial journey

This is an opportunity to try something new. You don’t need any business experience to apply for the Tulsa Idea Challenge — just a desire to learn and problem-solve.

Give it a shot


Presented by Builders + Backers

May 2, 2024

7:00–9:00 PM: Orientation

Gather Thursday evening for a brief introduction and orientation

May 4, 2024

8:30 AM: Doors Open

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Opening Ceremony + Workshop Day 1

More detailed schedule coming soon

May 5, 2024

8:30 AM: Doors Open

9:00 AM – 7:30 PM: Workshop Day 2 + Closing Ceremony

More detailed schedule coming soon

April 27, 2023

7:00 PM: Orientation

Check-in: Nametags + Welcome Gifts
Opening Ceremony: Agenda Overview + Orientation (TBD Fun Activity)
Lights snacks, water and drinks provided

April 28, 2023

Morning Session:
What's The Problem?

9:00 AM: Opening Remarks, Pair-up + Warm-up Activity

We’ll start off the day strong, reiterating what was learned during Thursday’s orientation. You’ll meet your Tulsa Idea Challenge partner and we’ll have a quick ice-breaker before jumping into the day.

9:45 AM: Session 1 - What's the Problem?

What’s the problem and why does it exist? We’ll provide guidance and a framework that helps you tackle the root causes of your problem before your team dives deeper into ideas.

10:30 AM: Breakout 1

Teams will meet to apply what was just learned. Mentors will be offering help.

11:15 AM: Small Groups

Teams will meet in small groups with trained facilitators. Your team will share your thoughts and receives feedback.

12:00 PM: Public Post

Using poster-sized templates, each group writes out and posts the results of their morning work in a centralized place for all to see. Judges will be reviewing these posts.

12:15 PM: Lunch + Activity

Lunch will be provided

Afternoon Session:
From First Ideas to Best Ideas

1:00 PM: Session 2 - Best Ideas

Back in the main auditorium, we’ll debrief what was learned in the morning session before shifting into ideation. You’ll learn the frameworks for turning first ideas into best ideas.

1:45 PM: Breakout 2

Partners will meet to apply what you just learned referencing digital content and using provided templates. This is where you’ll narrow in on one solution.

2:30 PM: Short Break

Lights snacks, water and drinks provided

2:45 PM: Small Groups

Teams will meet in small groups with trained facilitators. You’ll share your thoughts and ideas for feedback. This will help you refine your idea.

4:00 PM: Public Post

You and your partner will publicly declare your chosen idea.

4:15 PM: Break + All-Participant Activity

Group activity

Evening Session:
Putting Ideas into Action

5:00 PM: Dinner

Dinner will be provided

6:00 PM: Session 3 - From Guesses to Facts

Returning to the main auditorium, we’ll...

6:30 PM: Breakout 3

You’ll meet with your partner to apply what you just learned by listing out the known facts and your assumptions. You’ll pinpoint the most important ones.

7:00 PM: Small Groups

Groups of pairs will meet in small groups with trained facilitators to share thinking and ideas. Through the help of the facilitator and other teams, each pair will hone in on the most important assumptions to test.

7:45 PM: Public Post

Share your most important assumption on a public poster.

8:00 PM: Wrap-Up Day One

Closing remarks

April 29, 2023

Morning Session:

9:00 AM: Welcome + Warm-Up Activity

A brief morning welcome in the main auditorium will be followed by an all-group activity.

9:30 AM: Session 4 - What in the World is an Experiment?

Diving into Day 2, we’ll discuss why we experiment and what we mean (and don't mean) by experimentation. You’ll learn different types of experiments and what to measure.

10:00 AM: Experimentation Stations

Your team will rotate through multiple stations, each one focused on a different kind of experiment. You’ll get quick, real-world demonstrations and be shown tools and techniques.

12:00 PM: Small Group Lunch

You’ll grab a quick lunch and then meet with your small group. This will be an opportunity to discuss experimentation and what you learned up to that point. Your team will share what you think might be a fit for your project. Lunch will be provided.

Afternoon Session:
Designing an Experiment

1:30 PM: Session 5 - Designing an Experiment

After lunch, everyone will return to the auditorium to debrief the morning’s session. From here, you’ll learn about experiment outcomes, including metrics, evaluation, and next steps.

2:00 PM: Breakout 5

Here’s the really fun part! You and your partner will begin putting it all together. From problem and idea to the hypotheses and critical assumptions, you’ll select and design your experiment.

3:00 PM: Short Break

Lights snacks, water and drinks provided

3:15 PM: Small Groups + Expert AMA Stations

You’ll meet in small groups to share your work and get feedback. Through the help of a trained facilitator and other teams, you’ll refine your experiments and gear up to finalize your plan.

4:15 PM: Public Declarations

It’s time to share your final work! Judges will review and make their selections.

5:00 PM: Dinner + All-Group Activity

Closing Ceremony

6:00 PM: Session 6 - Reflections

As the event nears its close, we’ll gather again in the main auditorium to discuss the last two days.

6:15 PM: Reflection Activity

As a group, we’ll reflect on how much has been learned and what next steps you might want to take after Tulsa Idea Challenge concludes.

6:45 PM: Winners Announced

Our judges will share their thoughts about the ideas before announcing the winning teams.

7:45 PM: Closing Ceremony

Celebrate all your hard work and learning from Tulsa Idea Challenge!


Who can apply?

This event is for all adults (18+) who live and work in the Tulsa Metro area. You don’t need a college degree, a market-ready idea, or previous experience. All you need is a positive attitude and willingness to learn. All curious minds, business owners, students, executives, thinkers, and tinkers are welcome.

Do I need to bring a laptop?

Ideally yes. A lot of our programming will be in the Cloud. However, tablets, Chromebooks and smartphones should work just fine.

What’s the cost?

Tulsa Idea Challenge is free to participants. Actually, we’ll pay you. We know that taking time away from work, kids and precious free time isn’t easy, so we’re giving all participants a $300 stipend to cover any expenses.

How will applicants be selected to participate in the event?

Applicants are encouraged to apply early. If we receive unprecedented demand, random selection will be used.

What is the deadline to apply?

Our Early Application deadline will be March 21. All applications must be submitted no later than April 4.

Do I need to have experience with a pitch competition to qualify for Tulsa Idea Challenge?

There is no pitch competition requirement. You just need to be a Tulsan excited about entrepreneurship in order to apply.

Will meals be provided?

Yes! We’ll cover your lunch and dinner for Friday and Saturday, along with snacks and drinks throughout the event.

Will there be any element of public speaking required for the event?

The event does not have a public speaking component! If you choose to do so, there may be opportunities to share your work at the event.

Don’t see your question? Contact us at

Think you have what it takes?

Challenge yourself and take this opportunity to learn entrepreneurship in a structured environment with local facilitators.

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