Startup Junkie Foundation announced this week that Caleb Talley has been named executive director of the Northwest Arkansas-based nonprofit that serves entrepreneurs, innovators and small business owners. Talley will assume his new role, succeeding outgoing director Taylor Hasley, on Oct. 25.
“It is a real honor to be given the opportunity to lead this organization that has had such a tremendous impact in our community and in the lives of Northwest Arkansas entrepreneurs,” said Talley. “I’ve been passionate about Startup Junkie’s mission since I joined this awesome team in 2019, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Talley joined the Startup Junkie Foundation team as a marketing and events director in May of 2019 after having served as editor of Arkansas Money & Politics and AY Magazine. In the time since, Talley helped plan and facilitate over 300 events for entrepreneurs and regional stakeholders with over 22,000 attendees.
Talley succeeds Hasley, who took over the role in March 2020 after the departure of longtime executive director Haley Allgood. During his tenure, Hasley expanded the organization’s programming, increased its impact across Northwest Arkansas and solidified its financial stability.
“Taylor set a tremendous example as executive director, and although he’s leaving, his leadership grew the organization beyond the expectations of the community,” said Talley. “I’m blessed to be surrounded by an amazing core team, while also having the opportunity to add to this team with some great talent to help us as we continue working toward our mission to empower and educate innovators and entrepreneurs and make this ecosystem even more vibrant. We will continue to build on the foundation that has been laid for us here.”
During his tenure as executive director, Startup Junkie has impacted the lives of more than 2,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through one-on-one consulting, technical assistance or directed outreach. The Foundation secured more than $2,000,000 in state, federal and private funding. As director of the Fuel Accelerator, Hasley has helped recruit multiple out-of-state technology firms to the region to create jobs and generate revenue. He also expanded the organization’s reach to South Korea through the creation of the Arkansas Korea Alliance. Hasley will assume the role of CFO within his father’s growing entrepreneurial enterprises.
“This opportunity would not have been possible without the experience and knowledge I’ve gained during my tenure with Startup Junkie. This organization has made a tremendous impact in my life and my career, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve the entrepreneurs and innovators of Northwest Arkansas. I’m confident Caleb will do an incredible job leading the organization while carrying forward Startup Junkie’s mission of improving lives through innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Matthew Ward, a former Startup Junkie associate consultant and current Stephens equity research associate, will return to the organization to serve as a consultant and direct the Fuel Accelerator program.
“Once a Startup Junkie, always a Startup Junkie,” said Talley. “We’re excited to welcome Matthew back to the team and know he’ll plug right in and excel in this new role.”
Startup Junkie Foundation facilitates several key entrepreneurial programs in Northwest Arkansas, in addition to the Fuel Accelerator, including the NWA Kiva Hub, a microlending program for underserved small business borrowers. Since its launch in December of 2019, the NWA Kiva Hub has helped more than 50 disadvantaged small business owners raise more than half a million dollars.
The Foundation also facilitates Science Venture Studio, launched last summer, which is a collaboration with Innovate Arkansas, the Northwest Arkansas Council and the University of Arkansas to help Arkansas science- and technology-based startups apply for and obtain federal grant funding. In February, the Foundation officially expanded its services outside of Washington and Benton counties to the nine-county region of the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District-which includes Carroll, Madison, Boone, Newton, Searcy, Marion and Baxter counties
Through united efforts, the Startup Junkie team improves lives through innovation and entrepreneurship. Startup Junkie Consulting marked its beginnings in 2008 and formally organized as an LLC in 2011 by offering consulting services at no cost to entrepreneurs. In order to expand the reach, impact, and depth of services, Startup Junkie Foundation was born in 2015. As two companies sharing the same purpose, mission, vision, and values, the team is jointly building entrepreneurial ecosystems in Northwest Arkansas through providing no-cost, one-on-one consulting to nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs a year and 200 events, workshops and programs.