The Venture Center, the Little Rock Regional Chamber, Arvest Bank, and the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) have teamed up to host the third year of Spark!, a local small business pre-accelerator program. Applications are open now through Sept. 21.
The Venture Center is a globally recognized Arkansas-based Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ESO) that helps entrepreneurs turn their start-ups into viable, high-growth businesses. For the third year, the program will mentor up to ten local small businesses. This year’s program will focus on honing sales and marketing skills and providing expertise in the areas of storytelling, sales, public relations, marketing, pitching, and more.
“We’re excited about this year’s Spark! program, which will focus on growing specific skills for our local small businesses,” said Wayne Miller, executive director of The Venture Center. “Beyond program structure and curriculum, strengthening the entrepreneurial community is key as entrepreneurs and small businesses communities continue to face challenges beyond the norm due to the pandemic. We know that education and collaboration are key to thriving while overcoming those challenges, and we’re thrilled to work with so many amazing partners who believe the same.”
Qualifying applicants will be full-time founders/CEOs of startup companies with verifiable annual recurring revenue between $25,000 and $100,000, operating between one to five years, and will be central Arkansas residents. Benefits of the program include matching founders with industry-specific mentors and the opportunity to win thousands of dollars in prizes by pitching at Pitch ‘N Pint on Nov. 11.
“We look forward to seeing a new cohort of small businesses in Little Rock benefit from participating in the 2021 Spark! pre-accelerator program,” stated Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber. “Building strong, sustainable companies begins with a solid foundation that this program equips entrepreneurs to establish. Our experienced team is excited to get started.”
The Spark! Selection Committee will accept applications until Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, and participants will be revealed on Sept. 29. The program will run from Wednesday, Sept. 29 through Wednesday, Dec. 8.