ThinkBigArkansas, the launch of Startup Arkansas, was a huge success! Over 200 founders, students, professors, service providers and interested folks converged at Hendrix College to learn about the diverse and growing startup ecosystem in Arkansas.
Our activities began the day before when we took Scott Case and Mary Simonds (Startup America Partnership) to Hot Springs for the annual EAST Initiative Conference. Scott lead a breakout session with over 60 students (K-12) from EAST. The exercises was a mix of learning about Startup Arkansas (and startup communities) and practicing leadership. Scott asked the students to think about the good and the bad of their local school. Then he broke them into a few groups to solve the issues they thought were of most importance. Leaders emerged from the groups, and they pitched their solution to the entire room. These young entrepreneurs got a real taste of problem solving and pitching.
The morning of ThinkBigArkansas started with a breakfast with Scott Case, Startup Arkansas and c-officers from area corporations. The topic of discussion was how large corporations could engage and support the building of a strong startup ecosystem.
Several folks who submitted their idea via the website, got up to share their ideas to create a strong and vibrant ecosystem. We then heard from over 20 people leading organizations or events from around the state. Scott Case was our noon keynote and took us right into thinking about what big ideas we could solve for Arkansas.
The afternoon was full of startup pitches and a few startups got to sit down with Brad Feld for on-stage office hours. Brad then spoke about Startup Communities and the Boulder Thesis then joined us at King’s Dueling Piano bar for a much needed beer.
(officially welcoming Scott Case to the south)
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