Last chance to apply: NWA residents can get up to $5,000 for their business ideas

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 418 views 

Residents in Northwest Arkansas can apply for funding to start a business through an idea accelerator program — but time is running out.

Heartland Forward of Bentonville and Washington, D.C.-based Builders and Backers are accepting applications for ten Northwest Arkansas residents to access training, resources and up to $5,000 to start potential businesses or ventures.

The program is designed to make it easy for anyone to experiment with entrepreneurship. Applicants are not required to submit a business plan or have a pitch deck for their idea.

The application deadline is Monday (Sept. 11). Selected residents will participate in a two-month virtual program starting on Oct. 5.

For more information and to apply, click here.

The Walton Family Foundation supports the Northwest Arkansas cohort.

“Heartland Forward is proud to call Northwest Arkansas home, so it’s been particularly inspiring to see so many great ideas come out of the local builders for the issues facing our community,” said Ross DeVol, president and CEO of Heartland Forward. “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with the Walton Family Foundation and welcoming a new cohort of builders as part of our commitment to support 1,000 builders across the heartland by the end of 2023. We look forward to seeing what exciting and innovative ideas these new entrepreneurs will bring to help build a better tomorrow for Northwest Arkansas.”

“The Idea Accelerator is a phenomenal way for anyone, with any sort of novel idea, to give it a go,” said Donna Harris, CEO of Builders and Backers. “Entrepreneurship is a critical tool, not just for launching new companies and creating jobs, but also for generating solutions to the challenges we all want to see solved. We’re excited to again open applications across Northwest Arkansas and see the array of exciting ideas that emerge.”

The program’s four pillars are designed to mobilize and equip Builders through:

  • Idea Accelerator: This cohort-based program combines a 45-day Builder Bootcamp to teach participants how to implement ideas, followed by 45 days of actively executing their ideas through a single experiment.
  • Pebble Fund: All Builders receive a $5,000 Pebble Grant to test their ideas. Master Builders mentor participants throughout the program.
  • Storytelling: A comprehensive media program that curates, captures and distributes stories of Buildership, both from within the programs and in communities everywhere.
  • Buildership Workshops: Workshops and other events introduce people to the ideas of Buildership and demonstrate that anyone can generate creative solutions through entrepreneurial experimentation that contribute to the sustainability of communities.

The program was piloted in Tulsa, Okla., and Oxford, Miss., in summer 2021. There have been over 600 Builders across 15 cities.