ENID, Okla. — The 11th annual Cherokee Strip Business Model Competition award winners were announced on Wednesday , April 20, 2023, during a luncheon held at Oakwood Country Club. The competition was started in 2012 and has provided around $100,000 for local entrepreneurs in that time.

Nine businesses entered the competition, and the four finalists were honored during the luncheon, with each receiving seed funding. To be eligible for the competition, businesses need to be less than 5 years old and consists of three phases: submission of a business plan, 10-minute oral presentation and a final presentation in front of a judging panel. Funding for the competition is provided in combined effort from those in the Enid Entrepreneur Leadership Series.

First place in the competition went to Tea and Country Estate, which received $10,000 in seed funding, as well as one year of a complimentary community coworking space at the Strate Center at Autry Technology Center; second place went to CroChic Styles, which received $5,000 and one year of a coworking space at Autry; third place went to EH Metal Works, which received $3,000 and one year of a free coworking space; and fourth place went to OnPoint Operations Group, which received $1,500 in seed funding.

Niki Shrader and Lauren O’Brien, of Tea and Country Estate, said the $10,000 opens a door to a number of things for their business, which features a family farm 5 miles north of Enid. Tea and Country Estate opened in 2022, and held its first event April 8. The farm features agritourism, offering a chance to pick ornamental flowers. In June, a sunflower maze will open, which will include a petting zoo, kids activities and more.

Shrader said the money will go toward things that are needed on the property, such as another building and a watering system. She said they have a lot of things that are needed and being planned, so the money likely will go toward a number of things.

CroChic Styles is an online-based business for fiber artists creating products such as crochet hooks, labels and patterns. Owned by Patricia and Paul Sitler, CroChic styles was formed by the Sitlers combining their hobbies of crochet and wood working on a lathe.

Patricia Sitler said the $5,000 will help purchase new supplies for their business.

“We are really excited to use it for our shop to get new supplies for organizers, new benches, lighting, so that it’s not going to cause such eye strain for our employees,” she said.

The money also will help them attend the DFW Fiber Fest for the first time in September in Dallas.

EH Metal Works, owned by Emme Hughes, is a shop providing custom welding, cutting, pipe bending and lathe work. Hughes said she hasn’t fully decided what she will do with the $3,000, but will use the money to upgrade equipment she uses frequently.

“I’m going to be able to use it toward equipment, so making my equipment better and upgrading things,” Hughes said.

OnPoint Operatiosn Group, established by former pro basketball player Jonathan Reed, is focused on providing youth an opportunity for personal development while learning teamwork, perseverance and accountability.

Reed said the $1,500 received will go toward expanding things to offer more programs to more people and help expand what OnPoint is already doing.

“It’s amazing. I had a wonderful career, and it started when I was a kid with a dream, and someone gave me an opportunity to do something,” Reed said. “And we just want to be that spark. Maybe some things that we can do can spark some interest in a kid and light a fire that can help them do something and achieve something great. And it’s not just for basketball. Some of us start in sports, but we learn those team-building concepts and all those other things through our experiences.”

Article by: Tanner Holubar, Enid News & Eagle 4.20.23