Virtual Incubation Co. Warms Up for Expansion, Lands Former Tyson Exec Greg Lee

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Nov. 1, 2010 12:00 am  

Greg Lee, left, and Calvin Goforth of Virtual Incubation Co. hope to see northwest Arkansas become a high-tech hotbed.

Goforth said the companies had the potential to hire hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the not-too-distant future.

"A significant number should stay in Arkansas," he said. "Even if a company is sold and moves out of state, the economic impact is there because people here will make money from the sale. It's a cycle that builds on itself. It could become a thriving part of the economy."

Carol Reeves, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the UA's Walton Business College and mentor to its renowned student business-plan teams, credits Virtual Incubation Co. with helping launch entrepreneurship in northwest Arkansas.

"I think the main benefit VIC has provided over the years is to open up many people's eyes regarding the possibilities of science- and engineering-based firms," she said. "It's hard for me to imagine what the environment for knowledge-based firms in northwest Arkansas would be without VIC. As is clear from their record, they are experts at leveraging federal research dollars into startup companies. Much of the foundation for the entrepreneurial successes in northwest Arkansas can be laid squarely at VIC's doorstep."

Goforth said VIC had established a "great pipeline" to new technology - which he's keeping under wraps for now - that he hopes to bring on board soon. He envisions a northwest Arkansas that could become a high-tech hotbed.

"I think the pieces are coming together," he said. "You look at the products, the facilities ... it's a compelling story. Things are starting to crystallize here. We've not been a hotbed of technological development to date, and Arkansas is not ahead of the curve in terms of overall progress, but folks are impressed by our rate of progress. Our accelerated progress is impressive. There are some very strong groups working together."

(Check out Lee's colleagues on the VIC board here, and a get a glimpse of each VIC company here.)



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