Six Arkansas companies have been selected to participate in the inaugural Spark! pre-accelerator cosponsored by the Venture Center and the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Over the course of 14 weeks, the six companies will participate in a boot camp designed and facilitated by both the Venture Center and the chamber. The boot camp will include instruction on Arkansas business resources, media/public relations, intellectual property, sales, pitching, funding, company culture and leadership. The program will culminate in a review, as well as a chance to pitch their company at the Venture Center’s “Pitch ‘N Pint” in December.
“Little Rock is rich with learning and mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs,” Jay Chesshir, President and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber, said in a statement. “The companies participating in Spark! have great potential and are uniquely driven to grow their businesses. Working with the Venture Center and Spark! cohort to enrich our small business ecosystem is exciting for Little Rock’s future.
All of the companies are receiving free office space and perks at the Venture Center, located on the sixth floor of the Little Rock Tech Park.
The six companies participating in the pre-accelerator include:
- Apex Dental Education
- Cyclone Technology
- Listing Village
- SYI Construction Company
Apex Dental Education, founded by Rachael Linebarier, is a company that offers career education and training for dental assistants. Cyclone Technology was founded by Andrew Ross and Phil Baxter to manage and repair both hardware and software issues.
Idestini is a software company founded by Abby Sims that develops “custom business solutions and software” that aims to help companies increase efficiency and reduce cost by simplifying manual processes. Listing Village is designed to be an online search platform for realtors that allows realtors to create websites, search maps and Facebook ads.
Readthelabl is a specialty food company that provides shelf-stable sauces featuring healthy ingredients to the market. SYI Construction Company, founded by Katrina Smith, is female-owned construction company.
To apply and be accepted, all companies have to have an annual recurring revenue of at least $50,000.
Brandon Campbell, the chamber’s Director of Small Business and Inclusion, says the accelerator, which is centered around the idea of collaboration is a way to spark and retain business in a city of 200,000 people. He told the participants that being selected for the program is a “badge of honor.”
“You all should be proud of yourselves for being part of the very first Spark!,” he says. “You are a leader in this Spark pre-accelerator, when you think about it.”
“We have six incredible companies setting up to work with us over the next 14 weeks, and we are excited to see how their leadership skills grow,” Wayne Miller, Venture Center executive director, said. “With our partners at the Little Rock Regional Chamber, Spark! is set to offer these central Arkansas businesses a world-class pre-accelerator experience.”