The 2021 NWA Startup Crawl, hosted annually by Startup Junkie in downtown Fayetteville, will be postponed to spring 2022. In consultation with the city of Fayetteville and local health professionals, Startup Junkie determined that postponing the event was in the best interest of the entrepreneurial community they serve, amid the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
“While it’s upsetting that we won’t be able to bring Startup Crawl back in 2021, we understand the risks associated with hosting a large, in-person event of this nature during a time when our state’s health care systems are stretched thin and caseloads are increasing,” said Caleb Talley, Startup Junkie Foundation’s director of marketing and events. “We had planned to be announcing today this year’s lineup of events, not its postponement.”
In the place of the event, which was slated for evening of September 17, Startup Junkie will host a vaccine clinic in their offices on the Fayetteville Square from noon to 4 p.m. The clinic is open to the public, and the first 50 individuals to participate 21-years-old and up will receive a free ticket to the spring Startup Crawl event. All participating individuals will receive a Startup Crawl t-shirt and be invited to stay and participate in happy hour (21+) with the Startup Junkie team. Register here to participate.
“I want to commend Startup Junkie Consulting for making the right call for the public health of our City. The pandemic has challenged our small businesses in unprecedented ways, and we look forward to celebrating them in the Spring of 2022,” said Devin Howland, director of economic vitality for the City of Fayetteville.
A new date for the spring has not yet been determined, but the event is expected to consist of the same “crawl stops” proposed for September. This year’s official stops would have included Startup Junkie, Sharp Hue, Zenworks, Bearded Goat, AcreTrader, the ASBTDC and Startup Village, ELXR Yoga Lounge, Big Box Karaoke, Tula, the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub and the Fayetteville Town Center pavilion.
All the sponsors committed to the 2021 NWA Startup Crawl have re-committed their support to the Spring 2022 event.
“I’m incredibly grateful to all of our sponsors for understanding and supporting our decision to postpone the event and being so eager to continue their support of our small business and entrepreneurial community through the rescheduled event,” said Talley. “Without the support of our sponsors and the collaboration from community partners, the city of Fayetteville, and the startup-small business community, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Sponsors for the fourth NWA Startup Crawl include: Cox Business, WLJ Tech Law, Teslar Software, SupplyPike, Tobacco Super Store, Signature Bank, WeWork Labs NWA, Encore Bank, AcreTrader, Science Venture Studio, PPGMR Law and First Security Bank.
Launched in 2017, the “Biggest Startup Party in Arkansas” has connected thousands of people from the Northwest Arkansas community to the region’s most exciting innovators, founders, and creatives over a shared interest in local startups, craft beer and live music. The event grew from a few hundred attendees in 2017 to more than 1,800 in 2019, before the cancellation of last year’s in-person event.
Last year, in an effort to continue engaging entrepreneurial and the Northwest Arkansas community, Startup Junkie launched a week of televised programming highlighting startups and small businesses. With the proposed date less than a month away, the Startup Junkie team decided to postpone rather than pivot.
“Last year, we had time to work on virtual programming for a week-long celebration of entrepreneurship,” said Talley. “But this year, we determined that to do it justice, we would postpone to the spring and work towards adding more activities, connect with more startups, and bring on more sponsors to make a big startup party possible.”
Anyone interested in participating as a sponsor, vendor, brewery, startup or stop is encouraged to reach out to Talley at [email protected].
More information regarding the NWA Startup Crawl will be released at a later date.