Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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July 01, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Arkansas-based tech entrepreneurs have a new resource to help them

ARise, the acronym for the Arkansas Innovators, Start-ups, and Entrepreneurs initiative, is funded by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and managed by Startup Junkie.

Arkansas’ technology entrepreneurs have a new ally in their journey towards success with the launch of ARise, the acronym for the Arkansas Innovators, Start-ups, and Entrepreneurs. A fresh and expanded iteration of the Arkansas Statewide Technology Commercialization program formerly known as Innovate Arkansas, ARise is an ambitious initiative funded by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and led by Fayetteville-based Startup Junkie. Its goal is to propel tech and tech-enabled companies in Arkansas to new heights of innovation and economic vitality.

According to this article in AXIOS NW Arkansas, Winrock International managed the program for 15 years before Startup Junkie won a competitive bid to manage the program in March and rebranded it as ARise. The contract is valued at $848,460 per year and is renewable for up to seven years.

Mission & Vision:

ARise’s mission is to empower tech ventures in Arkansas to scale up, create high-wage employment opportunities, and drive world-class technological innovation throughout the state. With a vision of becoming the driving force behind entrepreneurial economic growth in Arkansas, ARise aims to establish the state as a premier destination for tech companies worldwide to start and scale their businesses.

Program Services:

ARise offers a comprehensive suite of services designed to support start-ups and entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey:

  • Startup Consulting and Coaching. ARise provides personalized consulting and coaching to guide tech ventures toward success, from concept validation to scaling strategies. Differentiating itself from other programs, ARise provides its start-ups with coaching on a continued basis and regular check-ins to ensure each venture has a customized plan to receive services and support.
  • Capital Access Navigation. ARise helps start-ups navigate the capital landscape, connecting them with funding opportunities and providing the support they need to secure investment. Whether a start-up is looking for venture capital or non-dilutive government support, ARise assists innovators with securing the best funding for the current stage of their company. The program also offers investor recruitment and education to support startups within Arkansas.
  • Advanced Subject Matter Expert (SME) Network. ARise’s network of SMEs and mentors offers invaluable guidance and support across industries, empowering entrepreneurs to overcome challenges and achieve their goals. This SME network provides a breadth of knowledge for new ventures, including the expertise of those who have grown their own companies and those who have proficiency in highly specialized fields like biotechnology, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and retail value chain management.
  • Connection to Industry. As a collaboration between Startup Junkie, Conductor, and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, ARise facilitates connections between startups and established companies to foster growth and expansion.
  • Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Resources. ARise strengthens the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Arkansas through a comprehensive digital resource library, targeted events, and collaborations with other entrepreneurial support organizations.

The ARise program is open to tech or tech-enabled ventures that are Arkansas-based and scalable. All services are offered at no charge to entrepreneurs across the state. Those eligible to enroll in the program can do so at this link.

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