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Recent efforts and investments are positioning Northwest Arkansas as a beacon for entrepreneurs in the Heartland.

Cover photo by Fortune Horse Studio on Instagram

Northwest Arkansas is pulling out all of the stops to help startups launch and scale-up. As a barometer check, read about the newest organization setting up shop in Northwest Arkansas and check out some of the upcoming events aimed at gathering and supporting local entrepreneurs. 

Endeavor Northwest Arkansas

This region’s entrepreneurial heritage is a rich one indeed [...] Endeavor NWA will allow us to provide fast-scaling entrepreneurs with resources that can further accelerate their growth and enable them to have an even greater impact on the region.

Elise MitchellEndeavor NWA Board Chair

Endeavor—an organization leading the global movement to facilitate long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world—is set to open an office in the Northwest Arkansas region that will focus on offering entrepreneurs capital and a global network of mentors and peer connections. With the help of these seasoned business leaders, Endeavor will run their entrepreneurship program to accelerate the impact of startups by supporting and mentoring entrepreneurs so that they can ultimately maximize wealth and job creation in the region.

Endeavor will be launching their program in Northwest Arkansas with the help of a $2 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation. “Entrepreneurship helped build Northwest Arkansas and continues to transform it today,” says Tom Walton, chair of the Walton Family Foundation Home Region Committee. “Endeavor will build on that legacy by providing the most promising startups in the region opportunities to scale up, contributing to our efforts to grow local businesses and attract new industries.”

Endeavor is organized in a five-stage track through which they help entrepreneurs that have gone through the initial start-up phase to scale up and expand their business. According to its website, “Endeavor NWA will focus on selecting high-impact entrepreneurs and businesses from multiple sectors that have the potential to scale significantly and reinvest back into the country by mentoring and providing financial support for successive generations of entrepreneurs.” First, Endeavor launches the initiative in a given city, region, or country, to then select a group of entrepreneurs with the potential to transform industries in these places. In the last three stages, they scale up, multiply, and reinvest the impact of these business models into global markets. Endeavor has already helped 1,800 entrepreneurs create about 1,100 companies in 34 markets throughout the world, generating in 2017 $15 billion in total revenue.

“We’re thrilled to launch Endeavor in Northwest Arkansas to connect high-impact entrepreneurs in the Heartland with a truly global network of peer and mentor support […] With invaluable backing from the Walton Family Foundation, we’re confident Endeavor Northwest Arkansas will help strengthen the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and economy,” says Linda Rottenberg, Endeavor Co-founder and CEO.

If you are an entrepreneur looking to learn more about this initiative, contact the Endeavor Northwest Arkansas team at

Startup Weekend

[It] is an exhilarating experience where developers, creatives, and business people meet with the common goal of building a business over the weekend. It all starts with the pitch where you get a minute to share your idea and get other people attracted to it. The most popular ideas get selected, and people are free to join any of the prospective startups.

Edwin OrtizNorthwest Arkansas Startup Weekend Attendee

With the support of local community partners, the Northwest Arkansas Techstars Startup Weekend is inviting you to participate in their amazing 54-hour program on April 5-7 at the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub in Fayetteville. Their schedule features speakers, coaches, and community leaders that will help you develop your idea and polish your pitch. Some past attendees have described this intensive program as a boot camp-like event, where mentors and coaches challenge you to develop skills needed to successfully pursue new entrepreneurial ventures. You will be working in teams creating a prototype of an idea with the help of successful entrepreneur mentors who will offer you feedback.

“Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on,” reads Techstars website. “The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues.”  During the span of less than three days, you will develop a prototype of your minimum viable product fitting the needs of the target customer. The ticket to this event includes 6 full meals over the course of the weekend, several benefits and discounts from their global partners, one-on-one time with mentors, and a network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs as a resource available to you. Tickets can be found HERE

Open Casting Call: Shark Tank is Coming to Bentonville

Startup Junkie knows that Northwest Arkansas is full of incredible entrepreneurs with great products and services [...] That’s why when we met the Shark Tank casting team, we couldn’t resist inviting them to Northwest Arkansas.

Startup Junkie

What if you could pitch your business idea on television to investors as influential as Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks? Well, luck is on your side, because this spring Shark Tank is coming to Bentonville for a casting call! 

Casting for the show will take place on April 13 at the Exchange at 409 S.W. A St. in Bentonville. Candidates can begin lining up at 7 am. Interviews start at 10 am; participants will have one minute to pitch their business idea to a member of the casting team. You can find the application to sign up HERE.

1 Million Cups Bentonville

1 Million Cups works with entrepreneurs, empowering them with the tools and resources to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their businesses. Mr. Kauffman believed it was a fundamental right for anyone who had a big idea to be able to bring it to life—and we're here to fulfill that mission.


1 Million Cups is a program that was developed by the Kauffman Foundation to educate, engage and inspire entrepreneurs around the country. The local chapter has a weekly meet-up that brings together entrepreneurs and the Northwest Arkansas community (typically, every Wednesday at 8 am) at Exchange in Bentonville. 1 Million Cups has helped bring more than 180 communities together through the power of conversation around innovation and entrepreneurial ventures. If you are looking to plug into the region’s vibrant entrepreneurship community this meet-up will be your jam.

Northwest Arkansas is steadily becoming a hub for entrepreneurship which echoes our entrepreneurial heritage. The growth of startups is having a significant positive impact on the economic development of the region: the more successful new businesses become, the more they will invest in Northwest Arkansas and the more the region will support new entrepreneurial ventures, ensuring that Northwest Arkansas will continue to thrive economically.