Incubator bringing bus tour to NWA to promote Black-owned businesses

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,259 views 

Little Rock business incubator ReMix Ideas announced details Monday (March 20) of a bus tour in Northwest Arkansas to promote Black-owned businesses.

The Black Ownership Bus Tour will visit Bentonville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Rogers and Springdale the week of March 27-30. According to a news release, the tour is intended to “connect and engage with Black-owned businesses, city leaders, entrepreneurial support organizations, and key stakeholders.”

In general, the tour is “an odyssey of witnessing, listening, and learning about the challenges and opportunities of scaling Black-owned businesses within the region.”

The bus tour will visit various Black-owned businesses and shop locally, learn about the history of each business, and the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses. There will also be pitch competitions for businesses to compete for a $5,000 business grant in each city.

The tour will conclude on March 31 in Little Rock. Below is the bus tour schedule.

  • Monday, March 27: Fayetteville
  • Tuesday, March 28: Fayetteville and Springdale
  • Wednesday, March 29: Bentonville and Rogers
  • Thursday, March 30: Fort Smith
  • Friday, March 31: Little Rock

ReMix Ideas’ first bus tour visited El Dorado, Pine Bluff and Helena this past fall.

“Now more than ever, I am hopeful about what we can achieve together,” ReMix Ideas CEO Benito Lubazibwa said. “I am also reminded of an African proverb that says, ‘If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together.’ Advancing Black entrepreneurship is an ambitious and necessary journey. We will certainly travel farther together.”

FORGE Community Loan Fund, a Community Development Financial Institution, is a bus tour sponsor.  Additional sponsors are the Arkansas Black Philanthropy Collaborative, Arkansas MBDA Business Center, Southern Bancorp, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, People Trust Community Loan Fund, Rock It! Lab, US Bank and the Urban League of the state of Arkansas.

“I am super excited to be a part of the second Black Ownership Bus Tour headed to Northwest Arkansas,” said Cassandra Kidd with US Bank. “This tour gives me, as a banker, first-hand knowledge of the successes as well as the challenges facing Black-owned businesses. I believe this tour is just the type of grassroots effort needed to address three of the most prominent gaps facing these businesses today: access to information, connections and capital.

“In my role as Business Access Advisor at US Bank, I have the opportunity to partner with organizations in the community that focus on supporting minority-owned businesses. I believe ReMix Ideas’ commitment to supporting businesses such as these, perfectly aligns with my goals as an advisor.”

The bus tour is also planned in partnership with Visionairi Enterprises.

“Visionairi is thrilled to partner with ReMix Ideas to bring the Black Ownership Bus Tour to Northwest Arkansas. The tour stimulates Black entrepreneurship through strategic investments, as well as connecting businesses and stakeholders throughout the region,” said Drs. Airic and Synetra Hughes, co-founders of Visionairi.