A venue designed to foster collaboration between Northwest Arkansas-based startups and enterprises opened this week in Bentonville.
Exchange is a localized effort to help boost entrepreneurship in Northwest Arkansas. Its purpose is to facilitate connections between entrepreneurs and enterprises by offering free co-working space to select NWA startups, who can apply to use the space and its services through the Exchange website.
Exchange is housed in the renovated Farmers Exchange building at 409 S.W A St., just a few blocks south of the downtown square.
The building is owned by an LLC registered to Bentonville businessman Randy Lawson. Since February, it’s been the headquarters of software development startup RevUnit, which relocated from its previous location on Main Street.
“At RevUnit, we develop technology products that make work life better for enterprises, and as a startup ourselves, we are consistently seeking ways to make sure other startups receive support and collaboration from other businesses,” said RevUnit CEO Joe Saumweber. “Through Exchange, we can cultivate business development and growth throughout northwest Arkansas.”
The principals behind the idea hope Exchange will be a place to provide mentorship from industry experts, and host meetups and events for the entrepreneurial and enterprise community to exchange ideas and spark growth.
The venture is supported by Wal-Mart Stores.
“We’re excited to support Exchange and boost the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Northwest Arkansas,” said Randy Salley, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president of retail technology. “The new venture is intended to be a model for entrepreneurs and established businesses to build relationships, nurture ideas and promote the Northwest Arkansas economy.”
Exchange will join existing resources for entrepreneurs and startups in Northwest Arkansas including Startup Junkie, Grit Studios and the Community Venture Foundation.
The free co-working space at Exchange features teleconference rooms, free WiFi, free parking and other amenities.