Arkansas Startups: From Dirt Roads to Interstates - Innovate Arkansas
Arkansas Startups: From Dirt Roads to Interstates
By Mark Carter, 12/3/2012 12:00:00 AM
From an entrepreneurial dirt road to an interstate — that's how Movista co-founders April Seggebruch and Stan Zylowski describe the emerging startup culture in northwest Arkansas.
The two UA Walton College MBA grads founded Movista in 2010 as Merchant View and have grown their retail tracking firm to the cusp of startup stardom. Earlier this year, Movista signed its first national client, Tempur-Pedic, the mattress makers.
Seggebruch said the environment for growing a business in Arkansas, specifically northwest Arkansas, is booming. She cited the creation of Gravity Ventures' Arkansas Fund and the success of the recent ARK Challenge business incubator that brought startups from the state, country and beyond to Fayetteville.
Things have changed a lot, even since Seggebruch and Zylowski hatched their idea for what would become Movista in a Walton College classroom almost three years ago.
"We love to joke that we grew up on the entrepreneurial dirt road and northwest Arkansas folks are now born on the interstate," Seggebruch said. "The ARK, Gravity and, for the most part, Innovate Arkansas have grown up along with us. We are terribly proud of all the work these folks are doing and try very hard to give back when we can."
The 2,300-SF space in the Enterprise Center at the UA tech park will enable Picasolar, an Innovate Arkansas client firm, to reduce the time it takes to produce its patent-pending product, a hydrogen super emitter that improves solar cell efficiency and reduces the amount of silver needed in the manufacture of solar panels.
At an awards ceremony recognizing the state's top exporters, Arkansas small business owners and an official with the U.S. Export-Import Bank called for the bank charter's renewal.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences BioVentures was launched more than a decade ago to combine research at UAMS with entrepreneurship, technology licensing and economic development. BioVentures has since spun off 22 companies using technologies developed at the campus.
The “Navigating the New Media” workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. June 26 at the Heifer International Village in Little Rock. The cost to attend is $50 for students, $75 for IABC members and $100 for nonmembers, the group said in a news release.