Apr 24, 2023 - Business

Heartland Forward accelerator helps startups bring ideas to fruition

Illustration of hands holding garden scissors and a spray bottle next to a small potted plant.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Spring is in the air, so entrepreneurs have an opportunity to prune, preen and prosper through Heartland Forward's idea accelerator.

What's happening: The Bentonville "think and do" tank is accepting applications through May 22 for its summer cohort.

  • Builders + Backers, a venture capital and accelerator firm, runs the program, along with Heartland Forward.

Why it matters: Encouraging, mentoring and developing startups are important steps to build a successful entrepreneurial network in Northwest Arkansas and achieve a community-wide goal to diversify the regional economy.

Details: This big idea behind an "idea accelerator" is that anyone with a creative concept for solving a problem in Northwest Arkansas can apply.

  • Participants receive a $5,000 "pebble" grant to use for experimentation to prove — or disprove — their ideas.
  • They learn how to put abstractions into action, test them and communicate their value, while building a network of other "builders."
  • The two-month program will be held virtually and starts June 8.

Between the lines: This will be the fourth cohort through Heartland Forward's accelerator, so the region has 30 graduates capable of providing networking support.

Go deeper: Read how serial entrepreneur Brent Robinson put rubber to the road with the program.

  • If you're unsure whether the program is for you, Builders + Backers will host two virtual information meetings:
  • The first is tomorrow from 2-3pm. Registration required.
  • The second is set for May 10 from 1-2pm. Register here.

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