Venture Center named finalist for first-ever Finovate Awards to showcase fintech sector

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 263 views 

The Little Rock Venture Center, which now operates several cohort accelerator programs in Little Rock, has been selected as a finalist in the first annual Finovate Awards, which is expected draw thousands of fintech influencers, investors and financial services executives to New York City in order to showcase emerging startups.

The Venture Center has been selected in the Best Fintech Accelerator/Incubator category for the inaugural awards ceremony, where 19 trophies are up for grabs in several categories aimed at banks, fintech firms, and individuals.

The other finalists in the category include Trading Central Labs in Paris; Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars and Fintech Innovation Lab in New York City; Envestnet Yodlee in Redmond City, Calif.; and Village Capital in Henderson, Nev.;

“It’s an incredible honor to be one of only six finalists for an award of this magnitude,” said Wayne Miller, Executive Director of The Venture Center. “The Venture Center’s partnerships with the State of Arkansas; FIS, the world’s largest fintech; and the ICBA, the U.S.’s largest community bank association have been critical to our continued growth and we’re grateful for the opportunity to help provide solutions where technology is pivotal in the quest to help our stakeholders and partners. Being a finalist for this award shows the world that Little Rock, Arkansas is truly blazing a path for fintech innovation on a global scale.”

A panel of industry judges will select the winner of the Best Fintech Accelerator/Incubator award based on alumni market performance and alumni testimonials. The winner will be an accelerator or incubator that consistently nurtures quality fintech companies and helps them on their journey. The event will be held on Sept. 24 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.

The Venture Center already sponsors the highly successful FIS FinTech Accelerator program that has brought global attention to Arkansas. That 12-week program completed its fourth iteration last month with eight fintechs that were selected from 225 applications from across the U.S. and 31 countries presented at the annual Demo Day event.

In March, the local nonprofit concluded the first-of-its-kind ICBA ThinkTech Accelerator, which focuses on helping develop early-stage companies that are working on new technology innovations and product development for smaller community banks. The program was first unveiled in late October when the Washington, D.C.-based trade group that represents approximately 5,000 small and mid-sized banks and financial institutions joined with the Venture Center to launch the program in Little Rock.

Earlier this month, those same sponsors announced the launch of the ICBA ThinkTech 2.0, which began accepting applications this week from U.S. and international early-stage startups and fintech hopefuls from across the U.S. through Sept. 30.

Last week, the Venture Center and the Little Rock Regional Chamber announced a new business development initiative offering free downtown office space to eight local startups selected to participate in a three-month pre-accelerator mentoring project.