While the economy is doing well across America, it’s booming in Arkansas, especially in the state’s northwest corner. And one of the strongest aspects of Northwest Arkansas is its up-and-coming ecosystem of entrepreneurs and startups.
At the center of the region’s robust economy is a network of entrepreneurs and small business owners who are embracing unique talent brought in by sources like the University of Arkansas and Fortune 500 companies to foster their own startups.
In 2017, Startup Junkie helped organize an event called Startup Crawl to bring these entrepreneurs together and celebrate the jobs and industry they’re helping bring to Northwest Arkansas.
Caleb Talley handles marketing and events for Startup Junkie. He says that in 2017 the inaugural Startup Crawl had close to 1,000 attendees hitting multiple stops around the Fayetteville historic downtown square.
Startup Junkie got the idea for Startup Crawl after attending South by Southwest and seeing a similar event, Talley says. The company brought this idea back to Northwest Arkansas, and it became a success, with the third annual event on the way.
The 2019 Startup Crawl will take place on September 13 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Fayetteville downtown historic square.
“It’s the biggest startup party of the year,” Talley says.
The event provides an opportunity for attendees to rub elbows with small business owners who put in a lot of work to make Northwest Arkansas a great startup environment, according to Talley. Small business owners create more jobs than just about anyone else, and Talley says the event gives people an opportunity to enjoy some beer and music with them, really get to know local entrepreneurs.
“I think people would be amazed, just the average person, to see what all is going on here in Northwest Arkansas that you wouldn’t otherwise notice,” Talley says.
Fifteen dollars gets attendees a cup that can be filled with a variety of craft beers from different stops across downtown Fayetteville. The cup also comes with a wristband to show attendees are 21 or over.
“It’s a $15 beer buffet. I don’t know if you can beat that anywhere else in the world,” Talley says.
The crawl will feature 12 stops on or around the square. And each stop on the crawl is paired with a local brewery. The stops themselves are startups and local small businesses where attendees can learn more about what they do.
Three locations around the square will have live music, with the street directly in front of the Pryor Center closed for a beer garden and one of the stages with live music.
Talley says Startup Junkie is expecting electric scooters being live and ready for attendees to use. He warns not to drink and operate the scooters, though, as that can lead to a ticket.
After the event, attendees can move over to Pinpoint, Arkansas’ first and only pinball bar. There, attendees can show their wristband for an exclusive cocktail only available to those who have one. They’ll also get complimentary arcade tokens for the business, according to Talley.
“It’ll be a really fun afterparty,” Talley says.
One of the stops along the crawl, Likewise, will also be hosting a party into the evening in honor of their opening.
This will be the third year that digital tax compliance and regulatory reporting company Zenwork has attended Startup Crawl, according to Chief Operating Officer Edward Pratt.
“We’re looking forward to hosting a beer station again,” Pratt says. “Last year, we had a group of employees and interns hanging out in the office, talking to the participants who stopped by. As a technology company, we don’t get a lot of visitors who just drop by on a typical day. The Startup Crawl lets us interact with people we wouldn’t otherwise meet. Plus, the beer, food, and music are great!”
Spencer Jones with Lineus Medical has also attended each Startup Crawl so far.
“We’ve participated in the recent Startup Crawls because they’re a great way to engage with the local community,” Jones says. “There are so many exciting young companies in our local ecosystem that people rarely get a chance to interact with, and this event creates that opportunity over great music and cold beer!”
The 12 stops of the crawl can be seen below:
- Zenwork – 1 East Center St., Suite #250
- Metova – 112 West Center St., Suite #600
- Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub – 123 West Mountain St.
- Startup Junkie – 1 East Center St., Suite #270
- Lineus Medical – 179 North Church Ave., Suite #202
- Newmark MTP – 112 West Center St., Suite #2
- Small Business & Technology Development Center – 240 North Block Ave.
- NWA Fab Lab – 21 West Mountain St., Suite #123
- Big Box Karaoke – 115 North Block Ave.
- AXIS Lounge – 25 East Center St.
- SharpHue – 1 East Center St., Suite #210
- Likewise – 70 North College Ave.
Below are the confirmed breweries that’ll be involved with Startup Crawl:
- Black Apple Crossing
- Bike Rack Brewing Co.
- Fossil Cove Brewing Co.
- Saddlebock Brewing
- New Province
- Hawk Moth (Rogers)
- Ox Bend Brewery (Ozark)
- Columbus House Brewery
Below are the bands and times they’ll start:
- 6:00 p.m. – Faye Moffett
- 6:30 p.m. – Melody Pond
- 7:00 p.m. – Aricka Lewis and Honey Collective
- 8:00 p.m. – Dial Up
- 8:30 p.m. – Josh Noren