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The Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards

In November 2007, Ned and Betsey Bruha were proud to accept 3rd place for Mayor Kathy Taylor's Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award for their business The Skunk Whisperer®, Inc. The award was started by Mayor Kathy Taylor to motivate and reward entrepreneurial endeavors in Tulsa. Award benefits included business advice and mentoring from some of Tulsa's top business leaders and entrepreneurs. Bruha credited the award as a catalyst in growing his business through the coaching and promotion that followed.

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The 2007 Tulsa Spirit Award

In 2007, a prestigious panel of judges presented the Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit award to three businesses that they felt best met a list of predetermined business criteria, including a strong business plan, viability, potential for growth and development, and a commitment to Tulsa. Ned Bruha and his wife Betsey were honored to accept the third place award representing The Skunk Whisperer®. entrepreneurial spirit and success in the wildlife control industry. Like all recipients of the award, The Skunk Whisperer® had submitted their business ideas in an executive two page summary from which a field of 25 finalists were chosen. Only one contestant received the $30,000 grand prize from Spirit Bank, but all finalists received invaluable coaching, guidance and advice from some of Tulsa's most successful entrepreneurs.

Ned and Betsey Bruha accepting the 2007 Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
As Bruha accepted the award he said "This business plan and presentation contest has been a great experience. Kudos to Mayor Kathy Taylor and Spirit Bank for investing in Tulsa's entrepreneurial spirit, and recognizing our business as an up and coming Tulsa based asset.

We thank all of our business coaches, our CPA, friends, contractors, co-workers, lawyers, graphic artists, search engine optimization officers, and clients for helping us get to this point. We have a great reputation because of all of your support and patronage." "Most of all, I thank my beautiful bride of ten years today (November 2007), who has supported and encouraged our business from day one. Without her support, this would not be possible. An entrepreneur cannot make it to the top, or out the front door, without a strong partner. This partner must be intellectual, analytical, moral, competent, good with numbers and concepts. I am lucky to have these essential traits possessed by my bride, Betsey."


The Annual Skunk Whisperer Award

There was a different twist at the 2009 Tulsa Spirit Award ceremony - before the announcement of the winners, Ned Bruha announced the winner of a new award, one similar to a Judges' Choice Award - the "Skunk Whisperer Award". The award was presented by Ned Bruha each year following during the Tulsa Spirit Award Ceremony.

The Skunk Whisperer won 3rd place in the original, 2007 contest, which included a trophy, but no prize money. Regarding the award, Ned Bruha says "it is an honor to have this award named after our business.
Ned Bruha presenting the first annual Skunk Whisperer Award

The Skunk Whisperer award represents the fact that just because you do not win prize money does not mean that you will not walk away without something of extreme value. Everybody who enters the contest will walk away a winner! The entire judging process and involvement with the contest is invaluable. By entering, you have the benefit of having professionals examine your business plan with a fine tooth comb. Judging, coaching, mentoring ... you would pay thousands of dollars to get this type of critique and assistance if you approached a business to assist you, whereas with this contest, you can win money as a result!

Our business would not be where it is today, we would not be as successful as we are if it was not for the Tulsa Spirit Award contest. The "little man" built these great United States, and Tulsa is a great place to be an entrepreneur. Enter once, enter twice, enter! Do not pass up this opportunity to learn about yourself if you have a young business or an idea for one!".

The 2009 Skunk Whisperer Award Winner - Eloté Cafe

Eloté Cafe and Catering is known for their fresh innovative Mexican food and use of local ingredients and sustainable practices. Eloté Cafe, was a recipient of the 2009 Skunk Whisperer Award which resulted in assistance from an advisory board made up of Spirit Award judges and coaches for six months, development of a visually driven Business Game Plan graphically facilitated by Sean Griffin, access to the Tulsa Collaboratorium resources and facilities and the valuable publicity that comes from participating in The Tulsa Spirit Awards.

The 2010 Skunk Whisperer Award Winner - uRuLax

The 2010 second annual Skunk Whisperer award went to Rose and Stacy Hardwick of uRuLax, a patent-pending heat deflector shield that goes around the head of a client while using a hood-style hair dryer. The product blocks the heat from the face, ears and neck. Ron and Stacy were able to receive ongoing coaching from the Spirit Award judges.

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