The Venture Center is extending the deadline for the 2020 Spark! accelerator.
Previously, the deadline to apply for the program was Tuesday, Sept. 2. The deadline has been pushed back one week to Tuesday, Sept. 9.
A partnership between the Venture Center and the Little Rock Regional Chamber, the Spark! accelerator aims to boost 10 local startups through a rigorous 10-week program. During this program, the startups will receive mentorship, business training, publicity and more.
This year’s accelerator – the second ever – will be held virtually.
“With the sudden onset of COVID-19, many of the on-site benefits were reconsidered to continue providing value to the 2020 Spark! cohort in a virtual setting. But with the help of technology and our mentors and subject matter experts’ dedication, we know the entrepreneurs selected for 2020 Spark! will gain incredible value through the introductions and instruction within a new virtual experience,” Venture Center director of community programs Ashley Jones and Little Rock Regional Chamber director of small business and inclusion Brandon Campbell wrote in an Arkansas Money & Politics editorial.
Participating startup founders will have the opportunity to learn about pitching, business funding, media skills and more. They will also have the chance to be matched with industry-specific mentors. Toward the end of the program, Spark! participants will have an opportunity to pitch at the Venture Center’s annual Pitch ‘N Pint on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
To qualify for Spark!, individuals must be full-time startup founders or CEOs and Central Arkansas residents. In addition, companies must have a revenue of $25,000 to $100,000 and must have been operating between one and five years.
Company founders/CEOs will be required to commit to one weekly virtual meeting each week during the pre-accelerator time frame. This meeting will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will also be encouraged to participate in virtual social activities and in a new virtual mentorship platform, The Union.
The final company selections will be announced by Friday, Sept. 11. The accelerator is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 15.