Entrepreneur consulting organization The Endeavor Initiative will establish an office in Northwest Arkansas with the help of a $2 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation.
Endeavor announced Monday (March 11) the new office, supported by the grant, would aid in the growth and development of Northwest Arkansas. The New York City-based nonprofit is a global organization that supports and accelerates entrepreneurs by connecting them with talent, capital and a worldwide peer and mentor network.
“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,” said Linda Rottenberg, co-founder and CEO of Endeavor. “With invaluable backing from the Walton Family Foundation, we’re confident Endeavor Northwest Arkansas will help strengthen the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and economy.”
Endeavor Northwest Arkansas will leverage area business leaders to support the founders and companies in the region that have passed through the initial start-up phase and demonstrate the potential for rapid expansion and scale. The office here will focus on selecting “high-impact entrepreneurs and businesses” who can “reinvest back into the country by mentoring and providing financial support for successive generations of entrepreneurs,” according to a news release. It will work to provide these entrepreneurs with money, talent and the organization’s worldwide network of mentor and peer connections.
“Entrepreneurship helped build Northwest Arkansas and continues to transform it today,” said 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.”
Some of the challenges Endeavor will address in Northwest Arkansas are common in many U.S. regions, such as the issue of highly-educated people leaving the area for places with larger entrepreneurial support systems.
Members of the Endeavor Northwest Arkansas Board of Directors include chair Elise Mitchell, founder and chairman of Mitchell Communications; Carl George, co-CEO and president of George’s Inc.; Ashley Hubka, senior vice president of corporate strategy and corporate development at Walmart; Todd Simmons, CEO of Simmons Foods; and Clete Brewer, managing partner at New Road Capital Partners.
Canem Arkan will lead the Endeavor Northwest Arkansas office. Arkan formerly was a managing director at Axonic Capital, and previously, she spent the majority of her career at Goldman Sachs.
Endeavor was founded in 1997 and has helped 1,800 entrepreneurs build more than 1,100 companies in 34 markets throughout North America, South America, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. The companies generated a combined revenue of $15 billion in 2017, and entrepreneurs who have worked with Endeavor have created 1.5 million jobs in area economies, according to a news release. Endeavor’s revenue fell 25.8% to $7.986 million in 2017, from $10.759 million in 2016, according to federal tax documents.
This will be the sixth office the nonprofit has established in the United States since 2012. Other offices are in Miami, Detroit, Louisville, Atlanta and Puerto Rico.