Heartland Summit sets stage for economic growth
Downtown Bentonville was buzzing Thursday with talk of everything from jet packs to tax credits and venture capital to partisan politics.
- More than 350 people from across the U.S. convened at the Record for the Heartland Summit.
Details: Full audience panel discussions included speakers Gov. Asa Hutchinson; Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation; and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
- Breakout sessions on healthcare, education, transportation, energy and the adventure economy gave guests opportunities to dive deeper.
Why it matters: The objective of the summit is to assemble decision-makers and influencers to collectively elevate local and regional economies in the heartland.
- The pandemic accelerated that movement because more workers than ever can choose to live where they want for quality of life.
Some key takeaways from the day:
- Dimon encouraged corporate leaders to get involved in local policy and politics.
- Steve Case, CEO of investment firm Revolution, noted that for many companies, there's a strategic advantage to being located in the heartland — rather than the coasts — for both intellectual capital and credibility.
- Saeed Amidi, CEO of Plug & Play, believes that due to the entrepreneurial environment, there will be at least three unicorn companies in NWA in the not-too-distant future.
- Hutchinson, who shared the stage with Louisiana's Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, talked about the importance of cooperation between both parties and noted that economic development isn't partisan.
Yes, and: Heartland Forward and Builders + Backers announced they will fund an idea accelerator for Northwest Arkansas.
- A cohort of 10 NWA entrepreneurs will be selected to receive $5,000 "pebble" grants and participate in the accelerator to help spur economic development.
- It's part of an effort announced last year to work with 1,000 entrepreneurs across the U.S.
Anyone with a creative idea for solving a problem in NWA can apply.
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