Venture Center, LR Regional Chamber open applications for new Spark! cohort

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 368 views 

The Venture Center and Little Rock Regional Chamber have opened applications for Spark!, a pre-accelerator program for small businesses in central Arkansas.

In its second year, Spark! delivers mentorship, publicity, and subject matter expertise to selected small businesses over a virtual platform. The Spark! Selection Committee will accept program applications until Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.

The program will run from Tuesday, Sept. 15 through Wednesday, Nov.18.

“The inaugural Spark! Pre-accelerator was exceptionally valuable for our participating companies, and the second year of Spark! will be no different,” said Wayne Miller, Executive Director of The Venture Center.

“Central Arkansas entrepreneurs have incredible support through today’s unique challenges in this virtual program. We are thrilled to work with a new class of local entrepreneurs seeking to adapt and grow despite the obstacles of an ever-changing landscape,” Miller added.

The 2020 Spark! program will accept up to ten local startups to participate in the 10-week virtual bootcamp. Led by The Venture Center, the Little Rock Regional Chamber, and local subject matter expert volunteers, the Spark! cohort will gain critical business skills in areas ranging from business pitches and media to legal/IP and funding.

“We co-created this program to give small businesses a targeted opportunity to receive real-time assessments, mentoring and strategies to boost their traction and growth,” said Jay Chesshir, President and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber. “As with the 2020 cohort, these selected companies will gain knowledge and understanding which will enable them to better adapt to any market conditions.”

Qualifying applicants will be full-time founders and CEOs of startup companies with verifiable revenue between $25,000 and $100,000 operating between one to five years and will be central Arkansas residents.

Benefits of the program include matching founders with industry-specific mentors and the opportunity to win thousands of dollars in prizes by pitching at Pitch ‘N Pint on November 17.