The Shift: Endeavor report maps NWA tech startups
A perfect roadmap for an entrepreneur's journey doesn't exist, but knowing where others have traveled can set a future course.
Driving the news: A report out this month by Endeavor Insight includes a first-of-its-kind visual snapshot of Northwest Arkansas' tech entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- The network map shows direct and indirect relationships between NWA startups, investors, mentors and organizations like Startup Junkie and Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.
Why it matters: The data are key to understanding how the region's network of entrepreneurs who harness technology as part of their business have evolved and what support will foster progress.
Details: The report notes companies that incorporate technology as part of their business are the region's fastest-growing firms.
Researchers conclude with calls to action for those involved in NWA's entrepreneurship community, including:
- Promote a "give-back" mentality.
- Accelerators, incubators and networks should help founders address barriers to scaling their businesses.
- Coordinate regionally to access resources from nearby cities (notably Tulsa and Kansas City).
- Connect women and minority founders to strong networks and mentors.
- Introduce corporate professionals to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Context: Endeavor, an international nonprofit founded in 1997 by businesswoman Linda Rottenberg, has invested in 2,400 entrepreneurs in 42 markets. The organization works to connect founders of high-growth companies for mentorship and network development with the goal of helping them scale up.
- Endeavor's regional office in Bentonville opened in 2019; a group of local business leaders head up the board of directors for NWA.
- The $292 million Endeavor Catalyst fund invests in some participant companies.
Between the lines: Lack of capital and resources have challenged NWA entrepreneurs for years. The area is in an evolutionary stage and an "If you build it, they will come" philosophy seems an appropriate cliché.
- Reports like Endeavor's that use hard data will help spread the word about businesses blooming here, and hopefully will draw more speculative investment.
Go deeper: Read the report
💾 The Shift is a regular feature to catch up quick on what's happening in the state's economy and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
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