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."
Welspun Tubular of Little Rock, Alliance Rubber of Hot Springs, Tyson Foods of Springdale and Conway Machine were the four Arkansas companies recognized Wednesday at the 2013 Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade.
University of Arkansas startup HomeDx won the elevator pitch portion and finished second overall in the graduate-level division of the 2013 Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State Governor's Cup business-plan competition Tuesday in Las Vegas.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville is making a push to sell more U.S.-made goods and part of that effort includes promoting products made in Arkansas.
Northwest Technical Institute in Springdale has more prospective students than spots in its diesel and truck technology program. A future expansion in lab space could help the school, located in an area known nationally for its diesel tech jobs.