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The best change comes from within.

Closing the door on adversity. Opening doors so others can find the way out.

VNN held two in-person events to explore the path from adversity to entrepreneurship, the community benefits of taking that path, and the barriers that stand in the way. One was held in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 18, 2022. The other was held in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, on July 16, 2022. Tulsa is Oklahoma’s second largest city. Okmulgee is considered a rural area.

During both events we heard from community members, as well as recovering addicts turned entrepreneurs. Topics included stigmas surrounding drug addiction, myths about entrepreneurship, and job creation for justice-involved men and women.


Tulsa FATE event highlights strengths and weaknesses of Oklahoma's entrepreneurship ecosystem


Okmulgee FATE event finds rural class systems stifling community, entrepreneurship growth

Learning from FATE is being published as part of VNN’s “Community Voices” news series.

Learn more about “Community Voices” here

VNN partnered with Big If True to provide contextual reporting necessary to understand the roots of adversity within Oklahoma and American Indian reservations. 

Improved access to mental health care in Oklahoma could help reduce female incarceration, advocates say

Castro-Huerta ruling continues a legacy of broken promises to Native American communities

How funding mental health services could reduce incarceration in Oklahoma


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Rhonda Bear talks entrepreneurship and living with addiction

“There were so many times when there was 78 cents in the bank. There was no money. That was my profit for the month. 78 cents. And it was so hard. Oh, my goodness. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done is to start it and keep it going. And not let fear take me down.”

Survey results

Community Resources


  • Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Treatment List HERE
  • Creek Health Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services (Muscogee Creek Citizens) HERE
  • CHESS Connections App (To help support individuals in recovery from substance use disorder and their loved ones) HERE


  • Domestic Violence Intervention Services HERE
  • Housing Assistance through Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services HERE
  • Social Services through Deep Fork Community Action HERE


  • Employment Services through Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services HERE



  • Free Skill Development through the Small Business Administration Learning Center HERE
  • BetaBlox in-person and digital offerings HERE


  • SCORE Free Business Mentoring and Education HERE
  • Hispanic Small Business Owners Association Entrepreneurship Academy HERE
  • ACT House Accelerator for Black and Latino led startups (6 months) HERE
  • Business Skill Development through the Tulsa Economic Development Corp. Small Business University (4-6 weeks) HERE
  • TEDC re(Build) Developers Academy for aspiring BIPOC developers (3 weeks) HERE
  • MORTAR Tulsa for Commercial/Retail business owners (15 weeks) HERE
  • Kitchen 66/Cocina 66 for food entrepreneurs HERE
  • 36 Degrees North coworking space and education HERE 
  • The Forge for high-growth start-ups HERE
  • Nest Collective for creative businesses HERE (9 weeks)


  • Green Country Technology Center Business and Entrepreneurial Services HERE
  • Mvskoke Fund Small Business and Entrepreneur Services (Citizens of federally recognized tribes only) HERE

Thank you to our collaborators

VNN Media and Information

  • September 9, 2022
  • February 16, 2022
  • November 10, 2021
  • October 13, 2021
  • October 12, 2021
  • October 12, 2021