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UALR Startup Poly Adaptive Awarded ADFA Grant for Solar Technology


UALR startup Poly Adaptive has been awarded a $36,000 grant from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority to scale up its Electro-Dynamic Shield (EDS) technology for large-scale solar panel applications.

Poly Adaptive is a client firm of the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center. It was launched to commercialize the technology developed at UALR's Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences.

Here's more from ASBTDC:

Previously, the Poly Adaptive team has proven through Small Business Innovation Research awards that the EDS technology effectively operates through a transparent, electrostatic-based system to self-clean dust and debris buildup on small-scale applications such as camera lenses for railroad inspection systems and solar panels for space applications.

Major industry leaders in solar power have shown an interest in a large-scale EDS that could clean large solar panels found on the rooftops of commercial and residential buildings.

“Although the final engineering design prototypes have been fabricated, many of the full-scale prototypes are not yet finished. This additional ADFA funding will allow us to complete the full-scale prototypes needed for field testing,” said Dr. Charles Buhler, principal investigator and program manager for Poly Adaptive.

Full story from ASBTDC here. Look for more soon on UALR research in this space and from our media partner, Arkansas Business. Plus, look for more on ADFA and its role in the state's tech startup ecosystem in next week's AB print edition.

In the meantime, keep up the good work, yall.

Nominations Open for 2015 Arkansas Export Awards


Nominations for the 2015 Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade, the Arkansas export awards, are open and being accepted through April 24.

The program from the Arkansas District Export Council annually recognizes the state's top exporting businesses of all sizes. Winners will be announced at a luncheon ceremony from the Governor's Mansion on May 21.

William Burgess of IA client Power Technology Inc. of Alexander is the council chair.

The event is in its fifth year, and in May will go down for the first time without Mike Beebe presiding as governor. Gov. Asa Hutchinson will begin his tenure as event host with the 2015 program.

Tickets and event sponsorships are available. Individual tickets are $85 while table sponsorships are $1000 for 10 seats. Place your nomination and get more info here.

Last year's winners were Arkansas Steel, Triangle Engineering, SweepScrub, Harris International and POM. Here's coverage of last year's event from Arkansas Business.

And here's more on the event and sumbitting nominations from the council:

The Arkansas District Export Council (ArDEC) is pleased to announce the 2015 Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade. The award recognizes exporting excellence among Arkansas manufacturers. This event is held annually, at the Governor's Mansion. Though this event, the ArDEC highlights the success of Arkansas's exporters.

Applications for the ArDEC Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade are being accepted through April 24, 2015. If your company, or another company you partner with, would like to apply for the 2015 award, applications are available on our website:

The winning companies will be presented with a trophy during the awards luncheon in May. Winning companies will also be profiled throughout the year and will have their company names publicized in connection with the Award. This luncheon event also provides an excellent opportunity to meet with other business leaders and entrepreneurs in order to exchange ideas and experiences in the exporting arena and beyond.

ArDEC encourages you to apply for this year's award. Applying is quick and easy. You are only required to complete a one page application, and write a one page narrative about how your company has developed innovative approaches to doing business internationally, how you have grown your international business consistently, how you have a significant portion of your business in the international marketplace, or any other inspirational narrative your company might have. The only eligibility requirement is that you must be an Arkansas based company that is actively selling in international markets. All information can be found at: 2015 Governor's Award Application.

About the Arkansas District Export Council: ArDEC is a non-profit organization comprised of members of Arkansas's exporting community. ArDEC members are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce and actively encourage manufacturers across the state to consider exporting as a realistic opportunity for growth. The ArDEC strives to tear down barriers to exporting, by providing guidance, training and connections that make the prospect of entering new markets less daunting. Information about last year's winners can be found at: 2014 Governor's Award Winners, and information about 2013's winners at: 2013 Governor's Award Winners.

Iron Yard Coding School Headed to Little Rock


Dates haven't been set yet, but Innovate Arkansas in partnership with the ARK Challenge and Gravity Ventures is bringing the Iron Yard coding school and accelerator to Little Rock.

Here's more from Arkansas Business:

The Iron Yard offers intensive courses in Python, front-end, rails and mobile engineering as well as a startup accelerator, web design and kids classes. Little Rock courses will include front-end, rails and mobile and will begin in mid-2015. Kids courses also will be available in Little Rock.

The Iron Yard aims to grow developers and help them find jobs after graduation from its courses. While acknowledging the tech talent produced in the state, leaders in Arkansas' tech-based startup ecosystem have lamented its lack of developer depth.

This is a biggie for the central Arkansas tech startup community. Full coverage in AB here, and much more to come. More on Iron Yard here. Stay tuned.


Still Time to Apply for Social Entrepreneurship Boot Camp on Petit Jean


The University of Arkansas Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain will host the Social Entrepreneurship Boot Camp in partnership with the UA Clinton School of Public Service, the UA Office of Entrepreneurship and the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub on July 17-19.

Deadline to apply is Feb. 28. Cost is $350 which includes two nights lodging, plus all food and conference events. Scholarships are available

Speakers will include Steve Clark (Noble Impact, Propak Logistics, Rockfish) and Trish Flanagan (IA client Picasolar, Noble, Show Me Solar). 

More details below:

The camp will provide training for new and aspiring social entrepreneurs, focusing on such topics as business skills, legal issues, scalability, measuring impact, ethics and benefit corporations. Participants will also receive one-on-one mentoring from established business leaders and social enterprise experts. Participants will be selected from a pool of applications. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 28, and can be submitted by clicking here.

Applications will be judged by representatives from each partner organization, and the selectees for the boot camp will be notified by March 30. The selected attendees will then be required to complete a “lean canvas.”

The lean canvas is a one-page business model designed to concisely break down a business’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers and finances. The model is designed as a visual chart, with one half focusing on key areas of market development, such as customer segments and revenue streams, and one half focusing on the product offered, with categories such as problems addressed and cost structures. A successfully completed lean canvas aims to provide the basic building blocks to all of the company's activities.

Each team/participant’s lean canvas will be developed throughout the boot camp.


Jeff Stinson of Fund for Arkansas' Future to Present at 1MC


Jeff Stinson of Fund for Arkansas' Future, the state's first member-mannaged, angel investment fund, will present at Wednesday's 1 Million Cups from the Arkansas Venture Center's new digs in downtown Little Rock.

The AVC is sharing space with the Little Rock Tech Park at 107 East Markham, across from the Statehouse Convention Center, in the former ARK Challenge spot. 

Stinson, who also serves as director of UALR's TechLaunch, will discuss FAF's mission of capitalizing early-stage, Arkansas-based companies with a goal of ROI but also the creation of high-growth companies for the state.

Since FAF's official launch in 2005, it has created two funds that have invested almost $10 million in 27 Arkansas companies including many IA client firms. In fact, Stinson tells us that IA membership is a de facto prerequisite to presenting before FAF.

More on Stinson, FAF and UALR coming soon from IA and Arkansas Business.

In the meantime, Wednesday's 1MC will be well worth your time. Not just for the new digs, but for a good overview of the tech startup ecosystem from Stinson.

It all starts at 9 a.m. More here.

Inventors Club of NEA Meeting Thursday in Jonesboro


The Inventors Club of Northeast Arkansas will meet Thursday beginning at 5:30 from Wild Hog BBQ in Jonesboro.

The January meeting will feature patent attorney Steve Schrantz, plus member updates on product searches and patents.

More info below:

Inventor’s Club of Northeast Arkansas


Contact: Jim Melescue, (870) 761-3191

The Inventors Club of Northeast Arkansas to have January Meeting

JONESBORO, AR. - The Inventors Club of Northeast Arkansas will host its January meeting on Thursday, January 29th, at 5:30 p.m. at Wild Hog BBQ, located in the Highland Center strip mall at 2810 E Highland Dr.

Below is the meeting agenda:

5:30-6:00 -- Eating

6:00-6:15 -- Fellowship and networking

6:15-7:15 -- Guest speakers and a Q&A session

7:15-7:30 -- Fellowship and networking


Steve Schrantz, from Schrantz Law Firm in Jonesboro, will talk about the “Design Patent, What it is and How to file.” Schrantz graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2002 with a B.S. in Computer Science. After graduating from Notre Dame, Schrantz served as a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington D.C.


In 2006, he graduated with honors from the University Of Arkansas School Of Law. While in law school, Schrantz served as a member of the Arkansas Law Review, a member of the Board of Advocates, Vice President of the Student Bar Association, and Treasurer of Phi Delta Phi. Schrantz is licensed to practice in the state of Arkansas, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the District Courts of Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas. His practice concentrates on commercial and intellectual property litigation, as well as the acquisition of patents, trademarks, copyrights and various related services including contracts, licenses and assignments.


Those interested in joining the club are encouraged to attend the meeting. Dues are not required at the first meeting; however, attendees are responsible for paying for their own meal.


For more information regarding the meeting, please contact Jim Melescue at (870) 275-653 or Robert Bahn at (870) 972-3517.

About The Inventors Club of NE Arkansas

The Inventors Club of NE Arkansas was formed in 2014 as a cooperative effort by the A-State SBTDC and 3D Precision Enterprises, LLC to help inventors take their ideas from concept to commercialization. Our resources include business consultants, CAD designers, engineers, manufacturers, patent attorneys and marketing groups. We ARE BUILDING a network of experts to provide the capability inventors need to review, patent, design, manufacture, and market their ideas.


UA Hosting Seminar on Nano Applications, Workshops at Food Innovation Center


The University of Arkansas is hosting a seminar on nanomaterial applications for energy conversion, sensing and biomedical, as well as a series of workshops on food commercialization at its Food Innovation Center.

The seminar on nanomaterials will be led by researcher Jim Zhang of the University of California at Santa Cruz and held Monday at 3:30 on campus, while the food commercialization workshops are scheduled for later this month and February.

Herte's more from the UA: 

Jin Zhang of the University of California, Santa Cruz, will present a seminar at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, in CHEM 144. He will discuss novel optical properties of nanomaterials for energy conversion, sensing and biomedical applications.

Nanomaterials are of strong interest for both fundamental and technological reasons. At the fundamental level, nanomaterials possess novel physical and chemical properties that differ from those of bulk matter due to quantum confinement effect and exceedingly large surface-to-volume ratio. These novel properties are highly promising for applications in emerging technologies. The Zhang lab has been actively engaged in the study of optical and dynamic properties of nanomaterials of both semiconductor and metal for solar energy conversion, solid state lighting, chemical sensing, and biomedical applications...

... The steps from start to finish to make commercial food products for local food systems will be taught in a series of workshops – “Plan. Produce. Profit.” – at the Arkansas Food Innovation Center, a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

The first two workshops are open to anyone who signs up. Participants will explore the process of taking a product from concept to the commercial market plus the fundamentals of starting a food-processing business. Participants in the third workshop will be selected on a competitive basis from among people who attend the first two. They will receive assistance from the center’s personnel and use of its facilities in commercializing their product.

The center is a fully equipped service facility for food product development and processing. It provides assistance to small- and mid-size agricultural producers and entrepreneurs.

All workshop sessions will be held at the center’s facilities at the university’s Department of Food Science, 2650 N. Young Ave., in Fayetteville. The workshops are supported by a Southern Extension Risk Management Education grant.

More on the nano applications seminar from the UA Newswire here; more on the food commercialization workshops here.


Little Rock to Become State's 3rd Energy Improvement District


The city of Little Rock has joined Fayetteville and North Little Rock in creating an energy improvement district that will enable contractors, financial institutions and commercial property owners to launch energy savings projects within the district.

Here's more from the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, of which severl Innovate Arkansas client firms are active members:

Little Rock to Become the State's 3rd Energy Improvement District
City Council votes unanimously to establish local Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program

Little Rock, AR – Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), an innovative financing mechanism that has sparked energy savings and job growth around the country, will soon be available to Little Rock property owners after the Little Rock City Board of Directors unanimously adopted an ordinance Tuesday night creating an Energy Improvement District defined by the Little Rock city limits.

The Little Rock ordinance also authorized establishment of a seven-member board of directors to oversee creation and administration of the new program during the months ahead. The Little Rock Board’s action requires no public funding and results in no financial liability to the city, but it does enable the private sector – contractors, financial institutions and commercial property owners – to launch energy savings projects within the district that will conserve energy and create jobs.

The Little Rock Board’s action means that property owners in three of Arkansas’s largest cities will have access to PACE financing. The cities of Fayetteville and North Little Rock adopted ordinances last year. Fayetteville formally launched its program, , in December, 2014.

The Arkansas legislature adopted legislation in 2013 (Act 1074) that enabled local jurisdictions in the state to establish energy improvement districts, appoint boards of directors and adopt rules and procedures for their new program. Once established, the program allows commercial property owners to access 100% loans that are secured by the tax assessment on their property.

Projects fall under three categories: energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation. State law requires that the project must result in positive cash flow for the customer (energy savings must exceed cost of the loan).

Next steps for Little Rock will focus on appointment of the new district’s seven directors. The ordinance requires that the board “shall be comprised of qualified candidates having background, experience and expertise in at least one of the following areas:

· Municipal finance, banking, and/commercial lending;

· Public accounting;

· Real estate development and commercial construction;

· Legal services;

· Architecture and/or professional engineering; and,

· The advanced energy industry, including energy efficiency or “green building” contracting and consultation.

Mayor Stodola appoints his designee and the remaining six board members are appointed by agreement of the Little Rock Board.

The Little Rock Sustainability Commission, chaired by local attorney Ben Brenner, first urged adoption of PACE in the city with a unanimous recommendation to the Mayor in May 2014. The Commission stated that the PACE program would be consistent with the city’s sustainable building practices, energy savings and job creation. The Commission’s goals are to see PACE in Little Rock launched and the first project funded no later than 2016. Brenner presented the proposed ordinance to City Board members Tuesday night.

“The creation of the Little Rock Energy Improvement District is the fruit of a year of collaboration between the Little Rock Sustainability Commission, Mayor Stodola, the City Manager’s office, and AAEA,” said Brenner. “Little Rock’s vision is to be a leading city of the 21st century. As I told the Little Rock Board of Directors last night, leading cities empowers their citizens and their businesses with programs like PACE.”

The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) has remained a strong advocate for local adoption of PACE throughout the state because it addresses the most significant barrier to energy efficiency and renewable energy development. That is low-cost, 100% financing with terms of up to 20 years, depending on the life of the energy improvement. AAEA energy savings companies CEOs estimate potential job growth among their companies at 30 percent where PACE programs are in place.

“This is a critical first step toward establishment of an innovative financing mechanism in Little Rock that will enable commercial property owners in Little Rock to improve their properties and save energy costs,” said Steve Patterson, Executive Director of AAEA. “There is a very good reason why PACE is rapidly expanding across the country as a practical way for property owners to save energy and improve cash flow.”

PACE has been adopted in 24 states and the District of Columbia since 2008. More than 225 projects have been completed nationally totaling more than $73 million with another $225 million in projects in various stages of development.


To read a summary of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation, click here:

Arkansas Advanced Energy Association is a business group dedicated to growing Arkansas’s economy by expanding our energy workforce and manufacturing base through the increased development, manufacture, and utilization of advanced energy technologies.

The Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation is the educational affiliate of the AAEA. The Foundation promotes greater public understanding of advanced energy in Arkansas through research, public education programs and economic and workforce development. The Foundation is dedicated to informing the energy policy debate with well-researched, fact-based data on the advanced energy economy in Arkansas and by providing a public forum where state leaders can address Arkansas’s energy challenges for the future.

Report Shows Economic Impacts of Advanced Energy in Arkansas
A report released in January 2015 by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF) shows that 25,000 Arkansans are working in the state's advanced energy sector, with a total impact on the Arkansas economy of $2.8 billion in output. "The Economic Impact of Advanced Energy in Arkansas: A Survey of Business Activity in 2014” can be viewed or downloaded at

Follow Arkansas Advanced Energy on Twitter @ArkAdvEnergy and like “Arkansas Advanced Energy Association” on Facebook. 

BMB Gets Patent for Protein Purification System


Innovate Arkansas client firm and UA startup Boston Mountain Biotech of Fayetteville recently was issued a patent for a protein purification system.

View the abstract in our Arkansas patent database here.

The NWA Business Journal this week spoke with BMB founder Ellen Brune about the patent, licensed to the UA Board of Trustees and the University of Pittsburgh.

An excerpt:

“It’s a great milestone to hit,” Brune said of the validation from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. “If a patent is not awarded, you really don’t have much.”

Known as Lotus, the technology uses production-ready E. coli cell strains with minimal amounts of contaminant proteins, thus making it easier to find the target protein and separate it during the process of making a pharmaceutical. Boston Mountain’s market is protein pharmaceutical manufacturers, the makers of IV and injection drugs used in the treatment of serious ailments such as diabetes, arthritis and cancer.

Good stuff. Keep up the good work, yall.

G60 Returns to Fayetteville on Feb. 12


G60 returns to its birthplace of Fayetteville on Thursday, Feb. 12 where two $1,000 once again will be awarded to people's choices and judges' winners.

Sign up here.

And here's more from Startup Junkie:

Come on out to the Pryor Center on the Fayetteville Square on February 12th at 6pm for the G60 Pitch Contest! It's going to be a great time!

If you have an idea, and want a shot at pitching that idea in 60 seconds or less for the chance to win $1000 in cash, come out to the G60 Pitch Contest!!

If you are just looking for a great time, and are interested in the startup community, come on out! Come cheer on local entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs!

Two $1000 prizes will be awarded to contestants. The first $1000 prize will be awarded based on audience vote. The next $1000 prize will be awarded based on judges vote.

Audience & Contestants, sign up here:

Free to attend and free to pitch!

Bring your family and friends! Everyone is welcome to attend!

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