Invest Fort Smith event set for UAFS, to include student competition

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 473 views 

64.6 Downtown will partner with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Fort Smith Public School’s PEAK Innovation Center and the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) to host the fourth annual Invest Fort Smith economic development summit in Fort Smith.

Like last year, the summit will be held during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 8-14. Invest Fort Smith will be Nov. 8, both in person at the Reynolds Room of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center on the UAFS campus and via Zoom web conferencing, and is designed with technology in mind to reach a broader audience with the theme of Empowering the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, said Talicia Richardson, executive director of 64.6 Downtown.

Session topics are centered around education, ecosystems and inclusion and include:
• Technology Shifts: Lessons Learned from a Global Pandemic
• Facing the Future in a Family Business: Succession or Sell?
• Simple Steps to Starting a Small Business in the River Valley
• River Valley Student Entrepreneur Pitch Competition

“We really want to empower entrepreneurs and let them know the ecosystem exists to succeed,” RIchardson said, adding that there are a number of resources available to entrepreneurs in the Fort Smith area, which the summit will showcase.

Last year’s summit also had sessions on technology shifts due to the pandemic and family business. Richardson said this year’s summit would expand on those topics as well as look at lessons learned through another 12 months of pandemic.

“This will be the second year we have held this during Global Entrepreneurship Week. We really want to encourage people to look into what other opportunities are available that week and to really expand their resources outside of the area because there are other resources with new technology that can be a great benefit,” Richardson said.

Online participants must register for the free event to receive a Zoom link(s). Link here to register.

The student pitch competition is open to all student entrepreneurs in eighth through 12th grade in the Fort Smith metro area  who have developed a product or service and are seeking advice, exposure, and investors. Contestants will record and submit a video of their pitch. The 60-second or less videos should be creative and capture an audience. Videos will be evaluated on creativity, feasibility and profitability. Videos longer than 60 seconds will not be accepted.

Video submission deadline is 5 p.m. Nov. 2. Submissions must include student name, business idea name and school. To submit, email a YouTube link to your video to [email protected] Only video links are accepted.