Entrepreneurs across the region have several opportunities this summer to network and share ideas as well as gain insight and funds for their ventures.
A great place to start is being linked to the Northwest Arkansas Entrepreneurial Alliance that meets from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at the Iceberg CoWorking facility at 509 W. Spring St., suite 108 in downtown Fayetteville.
On June 21, July 21, and Aug. 21, NWAEA will host a “smashup” event between 6 and 8 p.m. This event is also held at the Iceberg.
Josh Clemence, one of the NWAEA founders, describes a “smashup” as “when a business comes in and talks about its strengths and weaknesses and then gives attendees an opportunity to get into groups and brainstorm on strategies and actionables to make the said business better; or gives feedback or suggestions on how the business can gain a greater level of success.”
June 17 is the last day for entrepreneurs to sign up for the ARK Challenge competition for a chance to compete in a 14-week boot camp from August to November. Every participating company in The ARK Challenge program will receive over $18,000 in seed funding, mentorship and make-it-happen resources in exchange for 6% equity. Two of the startups will be selected for additional optional $150,000 each in funding at negotiable terms.
The popular Fireside Chats and Gone in 60 Seconds events will resume in July, according to Jeff Amerine, entrepreneurial advocate who also works as an adjunct professor and technology licenser at the University of Arkansas.
The next Fireside Chat is slated for 6 p.m. on July 12 at the Iceberg. The time and venue has not yet been set for the next round of Gone in 60 Seconds.
There are three days this summer deemed "community workdays" by the NWAEA and the Iceberg.
Clemence says a community workday is where the Iceberg is open to the general public for anyone to experience the full benefit of co-working in a really cool space with tech-savvy folks for free.
Entrepreneur opportunities are also available to high schools students through the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneur Boot Camp” which will held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. from June 25 to June 29.
Students will be accepted from the Fayetteville, Greenland, Elkins, West Fork, Farmington, Prairie Grove, and Lincoln school districts. This 5-day boot camp will teach students entrepreneurial basics, provide hands-on experience with trips to the Iceberg CoWorking space and Arkansas Research & Technology Park. Students also get a chance to compete for cash prizes and in-kind gifts that will help them start their own business.