Startup Weekend Makes Arkansas Debut on April 5

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Mar. 4, 2013 12:00 am  

Max Farrell (left) and Jordan Carlisle are bringing Startup Weekend to Little Rock.

Also, an impressive lineup of coaches will be available, led by Arkansas native Kristian Andersen of KA+A and Gravity Ventures.

Currently, Farrell (the son of Arkansas Business Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Olivia Farrell) works with digital cash payment startup Dwolla, while Carlisle is busy with his Project Olympia, a social cloud program for coaches that he helped start at last year’s Startup Weekend in Columbia, Mo.

It was important for both to bring Startup Weekend to their hometown, which sometimes takes an entrepreneurial back seat to Washington and Benton counties.

“We wanted to do the event in Little Rock to build in our hometown, but also have a central location for the entire state to get involved,” Farrell said. “Ultimately, we want this event to thrive in Little Rock and for a group of passionate people to do the next Startup Weekend here and host the first one in northwest Arkansas.”

It’s likely that Startup Weekend will find its way to northwest Arkansas soon. Farrell called the NWA startup scene an “awesome ecosystem emerging with supportive industries and some really passionate people.” But his and Carlisle’s focus always was on central Arkansas, and they hope securing Startup Weekend for Little Rock can be a positive thing for the state.

“Arkansas has the rumblings for great things,” Farrell said. “Northwest Arkansas is much further along as far as entrepreneurial scenes go, but they have young talent and three industries — retail, logistics and food services — to build around quickly. Little Rock is really backed by the entire metro area as Conway has some really talented people building startup businesses and the startup community.”

Farrell noted the resources available for startups in central Arkansas including Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center based at UALR.

“Eventually the entrepreneurial community will become a statewide rallying point, as Arkansans want Arkansas to be great, not just for themselves,” he said. “There aren’t many places like this in the U.S.”



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