Arkansas Fellowship Announces First Class, Host Companies - Innovate Arkansas
Arkansas Fellowship Announces First Class, Host Companies
By Mark Carter, 6/4/2014 12:21:00 PM
The Arkansas Fellowship has released the names of its inaugural class and the host companies at which they'll intern over the next two years.
The Arkansas Fellowship is a program that matches graduating Arkansas college seniors and with Arkansas host companies. Its mission is to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders by keeping the state's best talent at home.
Arkansas fellowship director Warwick Sabin told Arkansas Business this week that leaders in state business, government and education have recognized a need to retain the state's top technical talent in order to keep pace with other regions in the country.
The participants and host companies will be recognized at a formal, invitation-only reception hosted by Gov. Mike Beebe on Wednesday night at the Governor's Mansion.
The inaugural class, which consists of 11 recent graduates of six Arkansas colleges and universities, and their host companies are:
- Keenan Abner, University of Central Arkansas: Sumotext, Little Rock
- Jeremy Enders, John Brown University: Stone Ward, Little Rock
- Travis Finch, Hendrix College: Circumference Group, Little Rock
- Will Gilbrech, University of Arkansas: DataRank, Fayetteville
- Maggie Good, Arkansas Tech University: Collective Bias, Bentonville
- Christopher Hembree, John Brown University: CFO Network, North Little Rock
- Timothy Luff, John Brown University: Treatsie, Little Rock
- Brandi Mikula, University of Central Arkansas: Moxy Ox, Tontitown
- Jacob Moore, John Brown University: Acumen Brands, Fayetteville
- Sreesh Reddy, Hendrix College: Perks, Little Rock
- Kurt Shemanske, University of the Ozarks: Dillard's, Little Rock
Sumotext, DataRank, Treatsie, Acumen and Perks are client firms of Innovate Arkansas.
The nonprofit Arkansas Fellowship program is modeled after the Orr Fellowship in Indiana and is funded by the Little Rock Regional Chamber's Fifty for the Future, the Northwest Arkansas Council and Winrock International. It attracted more than 80 applicants for its inaugural class.
"We are extremely pleased with the caliber of the inaugural class of Arkansas Fellows and the host companies where they will be placed," said serial entrepreneur/investor Kristian Andersen, Arkansas Fellowship board chairman. "This is a great way to launch a program that we expect to grow and ultimately make a difference in keeping our most talented young people in this state."
Sabin said the program is designed to provide "world-class entrepreneurial experiences" for the recent graduates, providing them with opportunities to "kick-start their professional futures."
Arkansas Fellows will be exposed to events such as monthly speaker series, mixers and civic engagements.
"With executive-level mentorship, Arkansas Fellows will have the opportunity to build a reliable and meaningful network of business leaders, co-workers and peers," Sabin said. "The Fellows will have ample opportunities to accelerate the development of their personal careers."
Social entrepreneurship seems to be as important to today's rising generation of entrepreneurs as turning a profit. Gabe Couch's Tagless seeks to partner shoppers with personal stylists who will hook them up with nonprofit, second-hand clothing distributors.
Little Rock is on its way to becoming a true entrepreneurial hub in the image of inland startup hotbeds like Austin, Nashville, Des Moines and Omaha, according to local tech firm founder Rod Ford.
The World Trade Center Arkansas in Rogers, an affiliate of the University of Arkansas, has received a $600,000 federal grant to expand its outreach services to strengthen the state's economy, the university announced Monday.
The firm's growth was bolstered by an $82,000 investment from the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority's Seed Capital Investment Program. That investment preceded a $550,000 funding round.