UCA program to host startup pitch contests and events for K-12

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 556 views 

The Conductor, a partnership between the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and Startup Junkie Consulting of Fayetteville, has joined forces with two nonprofit organizations to offer upcoming entrepreneurial events for K-12 students.

High School Startup Day, where high school students will work in teams to solve a problem related to their education, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 16 on the UCA campus.

Co-sponsored by Noble Impact, an educational nonprofit in Little Rock, High School Startup Day will conclude with the teams pitching solutions to panel of judges comprised of UCA President Houston Davis and a number of UCA faculty members, including Michael Hargis, dean of the College of Business, and Stephen Addison, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, according to a press release from the Conductor.

The presentations are open to the public. Guests may register here.

Members of the winning team for High School Startup Day will receive $1,200 UCA scholarships. Registration is closed. Students from Hot Springs, Jacksonville, Bauxite, Vilonia and other schools around the state will present, according to the Conductor.

“Building entrepreneurial talent is critical to growing the startup ecosystem in Arkansas,” Jeff Standridge, Conductor team leader, said in the release. “We need to help students, teachers and parents understand that entrepreneurship is a very viable career path. We’re living in a new economy, one that thrives on entrepreneurial talent, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to work on building this foundation.”

The Spark! Tank Pitch Competition, open to youth from throughout the state, is a chance for students to make three-minute business pitches to a panel of judges from UCA, Southwestern Energy and Acxiom Corporation. The grand prize is a $1,000 scholarship to the university, according to a press release from the Conductor.

The event, co-sponsored by Junior Achievement of Arkansas in Little Rock, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 22 on the UCA campus. It is open to the public.

Registration is available at this link.

Junior Achievement and the Conductor have entered into a partnership with plans to create a number of entrepreneurship programs for school-age children.

“Student-focused programming is at the core of the Conductor’s mission, and we’re honored to partner with Junior Achievement of Arkansas to foster educational experiences for K-12 students,” Kim Lane, chief operating officer of the Conductor, said in the release. “Our collaborative programming is designed to create ways for every student in Arkansas to learn entrepreneurial principles, and our statewide network of youth entrepreneurs will empower the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers. We’re so excited to be part of this movement.”

The organizations are also planning a daylong Entrepreneurship Kickoff Workshop in September at the UCA, open to all Junior Achievement students in Arkansas. Participants will get a quick rundown of the first five weeks of Junior Achievement lessons and will have more time during the semester to work on conceptualizing a business.

“JA is proud to be a part of this partnership to empower young people to own their economic success,” President Chad Kauffman said in the release. “These projects will put useful and practical information in young peoples’ hands so they can unleash that entrepreneurial potential. Equally important is that these projects will inspire young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career.”