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A Look Back at Creation Jam from ARK Challenge and Create Reason


Here's a look back at last week's first-ever Creation Jam from the ARK Challenge and Max Farrell's Create Reason.

On Friday, September 19th, The ARK Challenge teamed up with Create Reason to present a one-day function combining ARK alumni/accelerating teams and small businesses to participate in a one day Creation Jam -- a high energy experience for alumni to interact with one another and the Create Reason team.

Swimming in a Sea of Data: Sustainability as a Competitive Advantage


Great stuff this week in Swimming in a Sea of Data.

IA adviser Jeff Amerine's weekly segment in 8th & Walton's Saturday Morning Meeting show welcomes Drs. Sarah Lewis and Jon Johnson of the UA and The Sustainability Consortium to discuss sustainability, its role in retail and potential as a competitive advantage.

Again, really good stuff.

Plus, we've got bonus material: This week's Swimming is an extended version, beginning around the 5:00 mark. Saturday Morning Meeting airs Saturday mornings at 6:30 on KNWA in northwest Arkansas and can be found at 8th & Walton's YouTube channel.


The Week Ahead: LR Tech Fest, Women Founders


The week ahead in the Arkansas startup/entrepreneurship ecosystem, highlighted by Little Rock Tech Fest on Friday from the Statehouse Convention Center:

  • As always, ladies first. Women founders will meet up Monday night at the Little Rock Chamber beginning at 5:30. This week's focus: business storytelling. We like. More info here
  • Tuesday brings us Code IT from the Arkansas Venture Center. This week, Dustin Williams will talk Google analytics and other testing tools. More here
  • 1 Million Cups resumes Wednesday from the Chamber. Let 'em know you're coming here
  • The Fayetteville Python meetup rolls Wednesday as well. It'll begin at 7 p.m. from Apple Blossom Brewing on Zion Road. More here
  • On to Thursday and the Little Rock MongoDB User Group. The Monthly Mongo Meetup goes down from the LR Chamber at 5:30. More, you guessed it, here
  • TGI...Friday and Little Rock Tech Fest, all day at the Statehouse downtown. Lots of learning, lots of networking. Details here
  • Then on Saturday, we've got BSides Little Rock 2014, a "cohesive gathering of students, professionals, tinkers and anyone else to discuss information security."

As always, keep up to date on all things startup in Arkansas through the Arkansas Startup Digest.   

Power Technology Open House Set for Oct. 3


Innovate Arkansas' own Power Technology Inc. will host an open house at its Alexander facility on Friday, Oct. 3, as part of the third-annual Manufacturing Day.

(For those of you who don't often stray south of the tunnel, Alexander is central Arkansas' Lowell. Sort of.)

Manufacturing Day in Arkansas is being held in coordination with the National Association of Manufacturers and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

PTI, for those not familiar, is a leader in the field of laser manufacturing. Think Scotty from Star Trek. (Original Series, of course.) 

Anyway, the open house will commence at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 3 and run through 4:30. Personal tours are available for those who pre-register here.

The plant is located at 16302 Alexander Road just off I-30. If you're coming from Little Rock, it's the first exit past I-30 Speedway, just past the county line. Take the Alexander Road exit and go south

Here's more info:

Power Technology, Inc., established in 1969, is a leading manufacturer of lasers for OEM analytical, biomedical, industrial, semiconductor inspection, defense & security, and machine vision applications. The open house will provide an in-depth look at electronics manufacturing, metal fabrication, and optical assembly, and will address questions that visitors might have concerning laser construction, semi-conductor laser technology, diode-pumped solid state lasers, gas laser technology, and more.

Because PTI is a Department of Defense contractor, pre-registration is required. Please register 24 hours in advance. This event is only open to US Residents. For proof of citizenship, please bring a two of the following: valid drivers licence, social security card, birth certificate, voters registration card, naturalization papers, or passport. One ID must be a photographic ID. Minor's (those under 18 years old) do require proof of citizenship. PTI reserves the right to refuse admittance to anyone, at anytime.

For more information, contact Walter Burgess at




IA Client Nerdies Offering Adult Learning Sessions


Never too late to nerd up.

Innovate Arkansas client firm Nerdies of Fayetteville, a tech-based, alternative learning provider, now is providing opportunities for old dogs to learn new tricks.

Four new sessions geared for adults will be offered this fall by Nerdies and its Arties spinoff:

  • TECH 101 with Head Nerd in Charge Brad Harvey
  • PHOTOSHOP & LIGHTROOM with professional photographer Maliah Pinkleton
  • Junk Paint DIY with owner of Trashley's Junk Emporium, Ashley Henry
  • Lighted Marquee with owner of Trashley's Junk Emporium, Ashley Henry

More details here. First come, first register, so if you're interested, don't be a grown-up and procrastinate.

Here's more:

Since we opened we have had so many people adults and parents ask us if they could learn too. Starting in October you can and just like with everything else we do the sessions will be a little different from what you are used to. We hate classrooms as much as you do so come to Nerdies with the right mindset to be social and learn so cool new stuff. Our morning sessions will include Coffee and Pastries and our evening sessions will include Beer and Wine (if you so choose).


IA Client NanoMech Announces $12M Funding Round


Innovate Arkansas client firm NanoMech of Springdale announced on Wednesday a $12 million, Series B funding round.

It's been a good year for NanoMech, a giant in the field of nano (couldn't resist). In March, it began work on a $10 million, 25,000-SF expansion of its corporate headquarters in Springdale.

This latest round of investors include Meadow Lane Investments, Hendricks Investment Holdings, Advantage Capital Partners and Spring Creek Investments, according to the news release.

And here's a sample from the release. Keep up the good work, guys:

Today’s announcement represents significant strategic investment in NanoMech and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors.

Building on continued momentum, NanoMech will use the financing to expand its global reach, invest in additional sales and marketing resources, and increase investment in its market leading nanotechnology platforms, nGlide, TuffTek, and nGuard. In order to take advantage of opportunities immediately available, the Company also has approximately 60 days to consider additional private placements of its stock in this round. The proceeds will be used to rapidly increase its sales and marketing infrastructure and activities, continue to expand and protect its intellectual property, and for working capital.

NanoMech is shipping novel nano-engineered products globally to Fortune 100 companies as well as to emerging companies who have chosen to innovate their way to the top by incorporating NanoMech’s nano-engineered solutions into disruptive and far more competitive products. NanoMech has brought revolutionary and transformative innovation to world leaders in energy manufacturing, exploration and service; auto, truck and marine manufacturing; Indy and NASCAR racing; agriculture and construction equipment manufacturers; refining and formulating lubrication manufacturers; aerospace manufacturing; textile manufacturers; and advanced military applications.

NanoMech also is a client firm of the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority and a portfolio company of VIC Technology Venture Development


Connect Arkansas Donates 47 Computers to Students


Through its Computers 4 Kids program, Connect Arkansas has awarded Internet-ready computers to 47 students in Pulaski County.

Students from Lisa Academy North participated in the program. Earlier this year, the program donated 20 Internet-ready computers to students from Crystal Hills Elementary.

It's all about access to the Internet. We may take Internet access for granted, but it's a luxury if not still a pipe dream for many in our society.

Connect Arkansas, part of the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, is trying to fix that.

Here's more:

47 Internet-Ready Computers Provided Free to Families from Pulaski County
Computers donated through Connect Arkansas’s Computers 4 Kids program

LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Connect Arkansas, a project of the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, announced the donation of 47 Internet-ready computers to families who completed the Computers 4 Kids program held at the Lisa Academy North in North Little Rock, Ark.

Computers 4 Kids is a three-day digital literacy program that educates Arkansas children and families about the Internet and its relevancy in today’s society.

Connect Arkansas received federal stimulus grants and state funds to increase Internet awareness, education and use in Arkansas. As part of those grants, Connect Arkansas partnered with the University of Arkansas at Monticello to develop the Computers 4 Kids program and worked with Arkansas-based computer distributor, eSCO Recycling, to provide refurbished, Internet-ready computers. Since the program’s inception, more than 2,100 families have received digital literacy training and free computers.

“We are very pleased with the success of the Computers 4 Kids program,” said Sam Walls III, president of Connect Arkansas. “The families who receive the computers are now better equipped for success in today’s educational environment.”

Connect Arkansas, established in 2007, is dedicated to increasing high-speed Internet subscription and improving and sustaining Internet adoption throughout Arkansas. The Connect Arkansas Broadband Act was signed into law on March 28, 2007, with the goal of improving personal lives and creating economic opportunity for Arkansans. Act 604 of 2007 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. 


1 Million Cups Highlights Entrepreneurial Week


Everybody's in Startup Weekend recuperation mode this week.

Another successful SW Little Rock went down over the weekend, where six startups were formed including winner Kick It Little Rock.

(That David Allan kid needs some hobbies...ha)

So it's probably just as well that it's a relatively light week for entrepeneurial events this week.

But we do have the Arkansas Venture Center's weekly 1 Million Cups program Wednesday morning at 9 from the Little Rock Chamber. It'll feature presentations from Chauncey Holloman of Harlem Lyrics and Geovanni Leiva of Leiva's Coffee.

Plus, the Pre-Flight program from AVC continued this week. Pre-Flight is a pre-accelerator program for early-stage entrepreneurs that originated out of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

The 4-month program will culminate in an elevator pitch day on Dec. 16. The AVC is the first "licensee" of the program outside Nashville, by the way.

And up in NWA, Launch Retreat continues. Launch Retreat, from David Baker and James Eldridge, is part accelerator, part SW.

Things heat up next week. On deck: Women founders, MondoDB, LR Tech Fest, BSides and more. Check out the Arkansas Startup Digest for more info.

[Editor's note: I'm a dummy. Left this out. Creation Jam is Friday in Fayetteville. Register here.]



ARK's Creation Jam is Friday in Fayetteville


We highlighted the entrepreneurial week ahead earlier today, and danged if we didn't leave out Friday's Creation Jam in Fayetteville from the ARK Challenge NWA and Max Farrell's Create Reason.

Here's more about it from this space last week.

This "cross between a Startup Weekend and a day in the life at the ARK"  goes down from Centerspace on the square from 8:30 to 4:30. Register here.

Again, here's more info:

On Friday, September 19th, the ARK Challenge is teaming up with Create Reason to present a one-day function combining ARK alumni/accelerating teams and small businesses to participate in a one day Creation Jam -- a high energy experience that allows for ARK Challenge alumni to interact directly with each other as well as the Create Reason team to advance their ideas, address their issues and move the needle forward on key objectives.

Think of the day as a fusion between a Startup Weekend, an internal hackathon, and your time with the ARK Challenge.

Three facilitators from Create Reason will be preparing, leading the function and arranging the follow up items:

  • Max Farrell
  • Jordan Carlisle
  • Dustin O. Williams

What Is Create Reason?

Create Reason provides a strong acumen in facilitating experiential events, developing products, developing marketing content/strategy, building sales pipeline/strategy, UI/UX optimization and providing guidance around lean startup methodology and design thinking.
The event will kick off at 8:30am at Centerspace in Fayetteville and run until around 4:30p.

What You Might Want to Work on During This Time

  • create a new landing page for your customers
  • clean up your sales pipeline
  • create a case study
  • create some new emails for an email campaign
  • develop a new feature for an existing product
  • develop your company's story: get out of the building to find what connects ith your customers
  • take a new approach at metrics / KPIs for your company
  • pick something from the backlog that you've been wanting to get to and just do it.



Swimming in a Sea of Data: The Impact of Small Footprint Retail with Fernando Salido of IRi


This week's Swimming in a Sea of Data with IA adviser Jeff Amerine offers up some fascinating insight on small footprint retail from Fernando Salido of global market research and predictive analysis firm IRi.

Swimming in a Sea of Data is part of 8th & Walton's Saturday Morning Meeting show, and IRi quite sensibly maintains an office just down the street in Bentonville.

Jeff and Fernando talk the impact of small footprint stores, which Fernando says comprise 68 percent of all stores and 75 percent of retail growth. Dollar stores and drug stores like Walgreens are hot right now, he says, and Fernando likens their relationship with stores like Walmart to that of a whale and barnacles.(He means that in a good way.)

More nuggets: There are 17 small footprint stores, on average, within a 10-block radius of each Walmart, he says. 

Really, very interesting stuff. As usual, the 6-minute Swimming segment kicks in at about the 4:30 mark.

The show airs every Saturday morning at 6:30 on KNWA in northwest Arkansas and worldwide each week right here and on the 8th & Walton YouTube channel.


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