Innovate Arkansas works with new technology-based entrepreneurs as they move new inventions and high-tech service concepts toward viable commercial enterprises. Offering technical assistance, aiding in obtaining funding, and supplying general business strategies are just a few of the ways Innovate Arkansas helps technology-based entrepreneurs.
Innovate Arkansas’ vision is that clients will steadily increase higher-paying jobs and employment opportunities across the state, causing Arkansas' per capita income to rise to the U.S. national average over the next decade.
Winrock International recognizes that small businesses are the driving force behind economic development in the state. This fact prompted Winrock to create its BIG DEAL initiative – Bringing Innovation and Growth by Delivering Enterprise Assistance Locally. Winrock’s BIG DEAL programs offer a full range of technical assistance, training, and access to markets and capital services to help small business owners start, grow, and manage their businesses.
With funding provided by the United States Small Business Administration, the Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) is a new Center that provides technical assistance, training, and access to capital services to women entrepreneurs. The AWBC is located on the campus of the South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado, Arkansas.
The ARK is a new mentorship-driven business accelerator program for technology startups in the retail, transportation & logistics, and food processing sectors. The ARK is a Winrock International, U.S. Programs, initiative in partnership with the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the NorthWest Arkansas Community College. It is made possible due to funding from three federal agencies, Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Employment and Training Administration (ETA), as well as Winrock International, Gravity Ventures, Fund for Arkansas’ Future and Arkansas Development Finance Authority.
The ARK Challenge was designed to offer up to $150,000 in optional funding to two “winners” of each of two 14-week boot camps, as of September 2013, the ARK has offered a total of $900,000 to six startup companies. The prize money was raised from private funds and public agencies.
Winrock International’s U.S. Programs partnered with Louisiana Tech to integrate innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology business development with community capacity building and business acceleration.
Funded by the Economic Development Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, and the Delta Regional Authority, this project leverages the ability of Winrock International and Louisiana Tech to bring key players to the table to engage small towns and rural communities with regional innovation enterprises to stimulate new economic activity and quality job growth.
The 1-20 Corridor Regional Accelerator will enhance the region's focus on the following industry clusters: Information Technology, Energy/Green Technology, and Biosciences. The targeted region extends from Shreveport-Bossier to Monroe and West Monroe and through the rural Delta parishes along the Mississippi River, south to Alexandria and north into the south Arkansas.
With funding provided by the Delta Regional Authority, Winrock will establish the Cameron Local Enterprise Assistance and Recruiting (CLEAR) Center in the southwestern-most parish of Louisiana. Loosely modeled after the Arkansas Women’s Business Center, the Center will provide training, counseling, and access to capital and other resources to empower and equip entrepreneurs to ensure business success. In addition, the Center will recruit current and potential entrepreneurs to locate businesses in the previously hurricane-damaged area.
These small business development efforts are particularly important because Cheniere Energy, a company located in Cameron Parish, is planning a $10 billion expansion of its existing facilities to allow for the liquefaction and export of natural gas. The parish must prepare for the significant job and workforce influx that will support this facility expansion. Winrock’s CLEAR Center initiative will help the parish plan for this growth by increasing the capacity of local businesses and bringing in new businesses.
With funding provided by the United States Small Business Administration, our Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs was an entrepreneur assistance program that provided technical assistance to microentrepreneurs in the energy efficiency, environmental, agribusiness, and manufacturing sectors. This program funded activities in a 64-county region of Arkansas where unemployment figures are high and outmigration of young innovators is strong. The PRIME program assisted 13 microentrepreneurs by providing website design assistance for e-marketing, feasibility studies, marketing assessments, and supply chain analyses.