We aim to improve lives through entrepreneurship & innovation.
a public-private partnership.
What is the NWA Venture Team?
- Your first stop for getting involved and engaged with the vibrant NWA entrepreneurship and innovation community.
- An initiative led by the Community Venture Foundation and Startup Junkie Consulting with the buy in and support of world class partners (see here) like Hayseed Ventures, all together focused on supporting and fostering the NWA entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. Community Venture Foundation is an IRS approved 501c3 non-profit organization with a board comprised of c-suite leadership from local ventures in addition to community builders. Startup Junkie Consulting is a global social venture HQ'd in NWA.
What do we do?
- High quality 1:1 consulting with innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs leading new ventures and existing ventures up to approximately $15MM in revenue, from all industry verticals in NWA, at no cost to the entrepreneur. We've had the honor of working in depth with the most exciting growing brands ($150K-$15MM in annual revenue) in NWA, the Ozarks, and beyond. As part of these engagements, we have a mentor database of over 250 high caliber mentors from across NWA and across the country, that we connect entrepreneurs with. We help with all aspects of starting up, and scaling up. From the earliest and most complex IP commercialization, to scaling up even further a $10MM/year retail venture; there is not much that is out of our scope. Further, through our partnership with Winrock International, we lead the AEDC funded Innovate Arkansas initiative in NWA which provides top quality support for tech ventures, and statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem coordination.
- Events, workshops, and programs. Ranging from Community Venture Foundation's AR Girls Code, E-Teen Ventures, and Startup Culture in the Classroom to the G60 Pitch Contest, ScaleUp, 2.7.0. Accelerator, and many more. We also partner with regional leaders to execute high impact programs like Launch Retreat. We've built a very robust and evolving portfolio of events, workshops, and programs tailored to NWA's needs and aspirations.
- Capital Access for NWA ventures. We lead the Natural State Angel Association, facilitate the Tonic Fund, and have relationships with most of the active venture and angel groups in the midwest and southeast.
- Venture Talent Development & Retention. Along with the above, we:
- Help facilitate and help lead programs like the Arkansas Fellowship in NWA.
- Connect talent from within and outside of NWA, to NWA ventures.
- As part of this, we regularly connect recent college graduates (undergraduate and graduate) to NWA ventures.
- Teach New Venture Development and Small Business Management at the University of Arkansas, where we engage the class with the NWA venture ecosystem.
- Regularly engage with regional universities, colleges, and K-12 schools providing educational lectures on innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Actively support collegiate business plan competition teams as advisors.
- Support NWA Lemonade Day led by BBBS NWA.
- Support the University of Arkansas You-niverse Entrepreneurship Club.
- Partner with the Arkansas Food Innovation Center to provide NWA food entrepreneurs with valuable support.
- Partner with the University of Arkansas Global Campus to ensure that NWA entrepreneurs have access to the training that they need.
- Through our U.S. Small Business Administration network, partnerships with the ASBTDC and NWA SCORE organizations to ensure that NWA entrepreneurs have access to multiple perspectives and outlets for help.
- Outreach. Focused on educating NWA community stakeholders on the benefits of entrepreneurship and open innovation.
- Space. Lead CenterSpace: NWA's Entrepreneurship & Innovation Space in the #NWAInnovationDistrict within the UA Pryor Center. Utilized by incredible organizations like the New Design School and located across from Hayseed Ventures & the Northwest Arkansas Fab Lab. CenterSpace's primary use is for entrepreneurship focused programming that's open to the public and for free 1:1 consulting with ventures, but there is plenty of room for co-working, so come on by!
- Regional, National and Global Access. Thanks to our partnerships with groups like Innovate Manitoba and Navigate Startup House through our active operations in multiple regions in Canada and others like the Conductor through our operations in Central Arkansas, along with all of our partners, NWA entrepreneurs have access to capital, mentors, and resources from around the globe.
Why is entrepreneurship and innovation important to NWA?
- New jobs
- New products, services, and solutions that our community needs. Whether it's that local beer, coffee, clothing or food that you love, or that diagnostic device that could save your life, you can thank an entrepreneur.
- Generating new tax revenue
- Diversification of our economy
- Increased quality of life and standard of living
How does the NWA Venture Team exist?
Thanks to the support of organizations like the Walton Family Foundation, Winrock International, Innovate Arkansas, AT&T, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and others, the NWA Venture Team along with the Ozarks Regional Innovation Cluster Team (ORIC) will continue to be here for NWA entrepreneurs and innovators as a part of the fabric of our amazing #nwark community.
If you're ready to get involved, reach out to us here!