Frank D. Scott, Jr.: When The Startup Culture Hits Home

by Frank Scott, Jr. ([email protected]) 175 views 

I’m so proud. My younger brother, Darrell Scott, and his college roommate, Tareq Alani, just won their alma mater’s Venture Fund Competition. They pitched to a panel of venture capitalists on their idea to deliver high-quality content to black millennials via social media – and won a $25,000 investment from Davidson College in North Carolina.

While I’m stoked that these guys earned the resources to flesh out their business idea, I’m also reminded that right here in our home state, there’s a burgeoning startup scene where entrepreneurs from the Delta to Northwest Arkansas are working hard to experiment with various business models that not only generate revenue and add jobs, but also make significant social gains.

Take a look around the Natural State’s universities and you will quickly find that our institutions of higher education place a premium on training students to be entrepreneurial problem solvers. Through case study competitions, pitch days, and business plan contests, these schools are supporting the next generation of leaders as they come up with innovative solutions to today’s most pressing challenges.

Check out the Delta Regional Authority’s Challenge Pitch Competition and the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup business plan contest. More than 2,000 of our state’s students have competed in the Reynolds contest, representing 24 of our colleges and universities and earning more than $2 million for their ideas.

I’m proud to boast that Arkansas has cultivated entrepreneurs across the state, and has also prepared our local talent to showcase homegrown Arkansan ingenuity.

For any folks out there looking to test their business ideas and garner support, consider reading books like “Zero to One” and “The Lean Startup.”

Our state is ripe for a surge in entrepreneurship, and I have no doubt that with its many cultural, economic, and environmental assets that Arkansas is the perfect place for young people to thrive and start their businesses at home.