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Venture Center Realigns Leadership, Focuses on Growth

Venture Center Fintech accelerator
Lee Watson, chief innovator at The Venture Center in Little Rock

Lee Watson

Little Rock — Lee Watson, CEO of The Venture Center of Little Rock, has announced that he will move into a newly created position at the Venture Center, that of chief innovator. Bill Yoder, an entrepreneur and former Acxiom leader, will assume the position of interim CEO. The move represents the next step in the Venture Center’s growth plans as the organization continues its mission “to be one of Arkansas’s premier entrepreneurial resource centers.”

“The last five years have been an amazing journey developing best-practice models for entrepreneur support programming and partnering with Arkansas’s business and government leaders. I’m excited to move into the role of Chief Innovator to focus on what I do best – building innovation programs – and to work with Bill Yoder and the Venture Center team to provide the infrastructure, resources and access to capital entrepreneurs need to thrive.”

Bill Yoder, interim CEO at The Venture Center in Little Rock

Bill Yoder

“Lee has done a great job of leading The Venture Center from just an idea four years ago, to a major center for entrepreneurialism in Arkansas. He has also been instrumental in developing a global, highly-successful FinTech innovation program that has been a meaningful contributor to financial technology innovations,” said James Hendren, board chairman and co-founder of the Venture Center.

Interim CEO Bill Yoder is currently chairman of the board at Watch House International, a security company he co-founded 10 years ago that has grown to more than 300 employees and is headquartered in Ozark, Missouri. An Arkansas native, Yoder’s earlier career includes leadership stints at Acxiom Corporation and Alltel Information Services.

“Bill’s willingness to step in and lead our Venture Center team gives our Board the opportunity to conduct a search for a new CEO as we continue to leverage the international FinTech Accelerator happening now in cooperation with FIS and the state of Arkansas, maintaining the momentum of our ongoing programming and working with Lee on exciting new initiatives,” said Hendren.

For more information on the Venture Center or the FinTech Accelerator program, please visit

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