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A Video Worthy of Thanksgiving: Wesley Wilson of Be-X


In case you missed it, Be Extraordinary, the Fort Smith nonprofit founded by IA client firm InvoTek of Alma and the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission, this week signed on as a Little Rock Marathon sponsor.

Be Extraordinary (Be-X) helps people with severe disabilities achieve life goals, while InvoTek develops technology to help people with disabilities access environmental controls, communication devices and computers. 

Be-X will sponsor the wheelchair/handcycle division of the 2015 marathon.

This Thanksgiving, what better way to celebrate the spirit of the holiday than this video from Be-X of Wesley Wilson, one of its clients who is truly thankful for what he's been given.

So, let's take a look and then take stock of all the blessings in our lives, many of them taken for granted. There are far more of them than we even realize, you know.

To Wesley and all the folks at Be-X, InvoTek and the Spinal Cord Commission, keep up the good work. And to all our readers, have a great Thanksgiving.

(And on Friday, don't forget to feast on tiger...)

Wesley Wilson - just like everybody else from shawn adair on Vimeo.

Be Extraordinary to Sponsor Wheelchair Division of Little Rock Marathon


Be Extraordinary, the nonprofit organization founded in part by IA client InvoTek of Alma, has signed on as a sponsor of the Little Rock Marathon. 

Be Extraordinary will sponsor the wheelchair/handcycle division of the 2015 race. Based in Fort Smith, it was formed in 2010 as a pilot program from InvoTek and the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission.

Be Extraordinary helps people with severe disabilities achieve life goals. InvoTek develops technology to help people with disabilities access environmental controls, communication devices and computers.

Good stuff. Below is the official announcement from Be-X. Keep up the awesome work, guys.

Will Sponsor Wheelchair / Handcycle Division and Help Promote the Region's Premier Marathon Event

Fort Smith, Ark. - November 24, 2014 - Fort Smith based non-profit Be Extraordinary will sponsor the wheelchair / handcycle division of the 2015 Little Rock Marathon, scheduled for February 28-March 1, 2015.

Participants in the race will include Para-Olympian Seth Arsenau as well as Boston Marathoner and last year's handcycle division winner, Scott Porter. The division attracts participants who are unable to use their legs and who race in specially modified wheelchairs and three-wheeled cycles.

Funding for Be Extraordinary's sponsorship is provided by a generous grant from InvoTek, Inc., an engineering company in Alma, Arkansas, that creates technologies and services for people with disabilities.

"We're excited to have Be Extraordinary as a sponsor this year," said Geneva Lamm, Little Rock Marathon co-chairman. "The work they do is amazing and our partnership fits nicely with our mission of 'A Race for Every Pace.' "

"Our mission at Be Extraordinary is to help people with a disability reach a life goal," added Jennifer Kistler, Be Extraordinary board president. "Our partnership with the Little Rock Marathon is intended to raise the community's awareness of what people with disabilities can accomplish given the right tools and support."

The wheelchair / handcycle participants will begin 5 minutes before the runners on March 1, 2015 over the 26.2 mile course.

About Be Extraordinary and the Little Rock Marathon
Be Extraordinary is a 501(c)(3) organization that has helped dozens of people with severe disabilities in Arkansas and Missouri accomplish a life goal. Be Extraordinary uses tax-deductible contributions from generous donors to fund these projects. For more information on Be Extraordinary or to support the work, please visit

The Little Rock Marathon is in its 13th year and attracts over 17,000 runners to the marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and children's run. Find more information at


Innovation Hub to Host Tom Carden of Square on Tuesday


Thanksgiving week may be a slow one event-wise, but the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub will host Tom Carden of Square Tuesday night at its Argenta Innovation Center.

The event begins at 6 p.m.

Here's more from the Hub:

Tom Carden of Square

Tuesday, Nov. 25th at 6 p.m.
Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub
201 East Broadway
North Little Rock, AR 72114

From Stamen Design to leading Bloom (which developed the first piece of code - Planetary - ever acquired by The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum), Tom is now the resident data visualization expert at Square.

Based in San Francisco, Tom leads Square's Data Visualization team, building comprehensive interactive reports and charts for sellers who use Square's products to accept credit cards and run their businesses.

In 2010 he co-founded Bloom, a short-lived venture-funded start-up whose Planetary app was installed over 3 million times and is now housed by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum as their first digital acquisition. Before Bloom, he worked at Stamen Design exploring data visualization as a medium for a range of clients including Digg, Twitter, MTV, MSNBC, Microsoft, SFMOMA and The New York Times.

In a past life he wrote airport simulation software for an architecture studio in London, helped with the early days of the OpenStreetMap project, earned a Master's in Virtual Environments at University College London and a Bachelor's in Artificial Intelligence with Mathematics at the University of Leeds. 


Swimming in a Sea of Data: John James of Acumen Brands


In case you missed it, you won't want to miss this week's edition of Swimming in a Sea of Data, part of 8th & Walton's Saturday Morning Meeting show,  with IA adviser Jeff Amerine.

Jeff welcomes back Dr. John James of IA client firm Acumen Brands. Plus, Saturday Morning Meeting features IA clients DataRank and Field Agent.

Good stuff, people. Must see stuff.

Acumen, of course, has been called the fourth horseman of the NWA business landscape behind Walmart, Tyson and JB Hunt. It's raised $101 million in the last four years and the e-commerce giant (Country Outfitter and Scrub Shopper are examples) is well on its way to becoming a $1B play, per James' goal.

(Both John, the Doctorpreneur, and Jeff, the purveyor of Techpreneurship, are former contributors to this space.)

Jeff's Swimming segment begins at about the 2:30 mark. This week's show includes DataRank's Lauren Hayes and Matthew Seubert, who share the holiday's most popular products, and Field Agent's Henry Ho provides an "epic Black Friday countdown."

Black Friday....Thanksgiving's this week, folks. 

As always, good stuff.  Saturday Morning Meeting airs on KNWA in northwest Arkansas Saturday mornings at 6:30, on the 8th & Walton YouTube channel, and of course, right here in the INOV8 blog.

Have a happy Thaksgiving, soak in the data, and enjoy:


BlueInGreen Partners to Deliver Ozone Disinfection System to City of Fayetteville


Innovate Arkansas client BlueInGreen of Fayetteville has partnered to provide the city of Fayetteville with an ozone disinfection system for wastewater treatment. 

BlueInGreen also is an ASTA client firm.

Story here from The City Wire.

And a sample:

The new ozone disinfection system will feature BlueInGreen’s patented HyDOZ gas dissolution technology, Pinnacle Ozone’s Zenith ozone generator systems, and PCI Gases’ DOCS-500 on-site oxygen generator systems, to provide the industry’s most compact and energy efficient ozone treatment and disinfection solution.

Overall, the system will have the industry’s highest ozone transfer efficiency at over 40% lower energy and operating cost than competing conventional technology.

In 2012, the City of Fayetteville launched a project to further improve the treated water quality from its Noland Wastewater Treatment facility.

As always, keep up the good work, guys.


Video: A Look Back at the ARK Challenge Fall Demo Day


In case you missed it, Arkansas Business has video from last week's ARK Challenge Demo Day in Little Rock. 

The ARK's fall run -- the fourth installment overall and first in central Arkansas -- concluded with Demo Day festivities from the Great Hall of the Clinton Center. The big winner was Spencer Jones and his Jones Innovative Medical Solutions.

Spencer took home $150,000 in additional investment for his innovative blood draw device. (Look for more on Spencer and his venture in the Dec. 1 issue of AB, by the way.)

Little Rock videographer Barry Deere shot video for AB and captured comments and reaction from Spencer and IA director Tom Dalton.

Take a look:

RxResults Growth Featured in Arkansas Business


In case you missed it, Arkansas Business has an update on Innovate Arkansas client frim RxResults in this week's edition.

The Little Rock startup, a UAMS BioVentures alumni firm, plans to add between 20 and 30 jobs in the next 21 months, CEO Tery Baskin told AB.

An excerpt:

“We have been saving employers between 12 percent and 17 percent of their total pharmacy spending,” RxResults CEO and President Tery Baskin said in the news release. “As we look at all the changes that are being contemplated in health care, we decided we needed to have a wider range of products and take advantage of all these changes.”

Coming off a $4 million raise, Baskin said Rx has created its own "tech":  

“We need to continue developing this technology and want to expand our communication processes for patients, physicians and pharmacists,” Baskin said. “This will include our own app. This focus on communication helps patients become more engaged in their own health care choices.” 

 Full story here. Rx site here

Keep up the good work, guys.

The Launch Pad to Host Beer, Brats and Bots in Argenta on Dec. 13


The Launch Pad, the maker space component to the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub's Argenta Innovation Center, will host a robot competition on Saturday, Dec. 13.

Beers, Brats and Bots will run all day and is open to the public. More info here.

The Launch Pad hosted its first event at the Innovation Center last week with the Arkansas Technology Summit, which brought together many of the state's heavy hitters in the fields of entrepreneurship, technology and university research, and some of the region's top investors. 

Here's more from the Launch Pad on the big event:

A mind-blurring battle of brawn, brains, beauty and brilliance!

Are you brave, bold and bowerful? Ready to test your mad skills in a robot competition? You can be the robot command team! If you have what it takes, then step up and take your place among the gods: sign up your team for Beer, Brats and Bots at The Launch Pad, 201 East Broadway, North Little Rock.

Or watch the action, learn the ropes and celebrate the victors.

Teams of three can register for $50 per team. This fee includes beer and brats, of course, as well as bot training and T-shirts. Teams should arrive at 9 a.m. for robot training and readiness.

Then, the fun begins at noon when we open the doors to the public. Public admission is $10, and includes brats, beer, music and fun. Root beer will be available as well — this is a family-friendly event.

Meet the robots and their pilots. Learn about the CARL Bot's movement and how you can participate. Have some brats, enjoy a beverage, get a chance to play with CARL and learn more about Arduino microcontrollers.

Then, prepare for for the first round of what will prove to be a series of epic battles: Two bots enter, one bot leaves!

The winner will receive a six-month team membership to The Launch Pad.


9 a.m.: Teams arrive
Noon: Public arrives
1 p.m.: Competition starts
3 p.m.: Awards ceremony
4 p.m.: Welcome to The Launch Pad, music, and socializing

Register right here.

Connect Arkansas Launches Internet Initiative for Small Businesses


Connect Arkansas, the nonprofit dedicated to increasing high-speed Internet usage in Arkansas, has launched an initiative to help make sure small businesses and startups in the state have the tools they need to compete in today's digital economy.

Here's more from Connect Arkansas:


Statewide Internet Utilization Study Will Help Drive Strategies and Provide Tools for Arkansas Businesses to Learn About Smarter Internet Usage Techniques

Little Rock, Arkansas – Today, Connect Arkansas, a project of the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, announced an exciting initiative for Arkansas’s small businesses. In conjunction with broadband research firm Strategic Networks Group (SNG), Connect Arkansas is conducting a statewide study among small- and medium-sized (less than 100 employees) businesses to develop strategies to improve Arkansas businesses’ ability to compete in an increasingly digital economy.

Participating businesses will be provided with unique insights and published materials from broadband utilization experts at SNG, as well as be eligible for further assistance in 2015.

Meanwhile, Faulkner county businesses including those in Vilonia and Mayflower – communities that have been ravaged by oil spills and tornadoes in the past 24 months – will receive special assistance in the form of eligibility for the Small Business Growth Program. This program is being piloted to determine if Connect Arkansas will provide this broadband business assistance to other areas of the state.

SNG's Small Business Growth Program helps small businesses understand what meaningful and expanded utilization could mean for their bottom line. Participating businesses in Mayflower and Vilonia will receive invaluable business intelligence in the form of a roadmap to driving revenues and reducing costs. SNG has surveyed tens of thousands of businesses across the nation regarding their Internet use and accompanying financial benefits, which allows SNG to compare how a specific Arkansas business is leveraging broadband's potential in comparison to their peers and competitors. In short – SNG can show these communities’ businesses the specific Internet-based activities they should undertake along with the financial impact of each.

"We've found that small businesses across North America are typically slow to adopt Internet applications," said Doug Adams, vice president of communications for SNG. "Research in more than 10 states shows us time and again that small businesses either don't understand how Internet applications are relevant to their business or lack the will to take the time to deploy them. We are thrilled to be able to provide Arkansas and specific communities the tools to understand how Internet practices can help them compete and thrive in today’s economy."

"We see this program as being incredibly beneficial for our local businesses," said Sam Walls III, president of Connect Arkansas. "We will be able to uncover where businesses are today with regards to capitalizing on the Internet’s potential and develop strategies for our businesses to be more competitive. The additional opportunity to help Vilonia and Mayflower recover from some natural disaster setbacks makes this an even more exciting undertaking."

About Connect Arkansas

Connect Arkansas, a project of The Arkansas Capital Corporation Group and established in 2007, is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to increasing high-speed Internet subscription and improving and sustaining Internet adoption throughout Arkansas. The Connect Arkansas Broadband Act was signed into law by Gov. Mike Beebe on March 28, 2007, with the goal of improving personal lives and creating economic opportunity for Arkansans. Act 604 of the 2007 Arkansas General Assembly states that Connect Arkansas’s mission is to “prepare the people and businesses of Arkansas to secure the economic, educational, health, social and other benefits available via broadband use.” Connect Arkansas seeks to advance that goal through community-based initiatives. To learn more, visit

About Strategic Networks Group (SNG)

Focused on economic advancement through broadband utilization, SNG is a group of broadband economists who develop strategies for most effectively leveraging broadband investments. SNG addresses broadband utilization from the individual organization level all the way up to working with more than 10 ten states across the United States. SNG looks to help make the most broad-reaching and transformational impacts that broadband can bring to enable businesses, communities and regions by delivering the data and analysis decision makers need to maximize broadband’s potential. Learn more about SNG at

Swimming in a Sea of Data: David Cooper of Transactional Insights


IA adviser Jeff Amerine welcomes David Cooper of Transactional Insights to talk retail math in this week's Swimming in a Sea of Data, the popular segment that's part of 8th & Walton's Saturday Morning Meeting show.

Plus, 8th & Walton welcomes Chuck Hyde of The Soderquist Center and Brian Baldwin of Acosta Sales & Marketing to talk about a program called Amplify Effect, a unique and rewarding way suppliers can get involved in the community.

Jeff's Swimming segment begins at about the 4:40 mark. As always, good stuff. 

Saturday Morning Meeting airs on KNWA in northwest Arkansas Saturday mornings at 6:30, on the 8th & Walton YouTube channel, and of course, right here in the INOV8 blog.


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