The University of Tulsa’s Collins College of Business opened a gleaming new entrepreneurial hub on Monday that will allow students to sell handmade goods, practice their marketing skills and support each other along the academic journey.
Goldie’s Grounds Powered by Williams, a completely renovated space on the first floor of Helmerich Hall, also offers students free coffee – a service that will be managed by the nonprofit She Brews Coffee House in the adjacent Kendall Whittier neighborhood. The ribbon-cutting celebration was held on the sixth annual 918 Day, which celebrates all the things that make Tulsa a great city, and Mayor G.T. Bynum made time to stop by TU for the event.
“We are here to celebrate two great Tulsa institutions: The University of Tulsa and Williams,” Bynum said. “This is very much what we’re doing in Tulsa – take something, build upon it and build something better for the future.”
The lounge will allow students from across campus to market their “side hustles,” sell products and showcase art for display or for sale. Business development programs will also be held in the lounge, and an app is being developed that will promote its events.
Three TU MBA students – Lauren Agpoon, Hannah Overmyer and Nick Parisi – developed a plan and a budget for the hub as part of a class project. Their pitch to Williams played a key part in obtaining $250,000 in funding to make it a reality, said Kathy Taylor, dean of TU’s Collins College of Business.
“Goldie’s Grounds Powered by Williams symbolizes our commitment to collaboration, creativity, and community within the Collins College of Business and beyond,” Taylor told the standing-room-only crowd. “I sincerely appreciate the Williams team for their ongoing partnership and generous support as well as the backing of TU President Brad Carson and Provost George Justice. And I’m incredibly proud of Hannah, Nick and Lauren for their dedication to bringing Goldie’s Grounds to fruition. In fact, Lauren interned with Williams last summer and has been offered a full-time position upon her graduation.”
Debbie Cowan, Williams’ senior vice president and chief human resources officer, attended the event with other Williams representatives and shared her excitement for the project.
“TU is one of Williams’ longstanding partner schools located right here in our headquarters city. We’re happy to sponsor this student-centric space that encourages community, innovation and collaboration for the workforce of tomorrow. Our hope is that students will wake up with Williams as they grab a coffee on their way to class, gather with their peers on a class project or showcase their own entrepreneurship,” Cowan said.
The space is open to all TU undergraduate and graduate students regardless of major or college. In addition to hot and iced coffee, students who attended Monday’s grand opening were treated to free Collins College of Business travel mugs, Goldie’s Grounds Powered by Williams T-shirts, specialty cookies and a visit from the Golden Hurricane’s canine ambassador, Goldie.