by Mark Carter
Posted 5/13/2014 09:25 am
Updated 5 months ago
Jordan Carlisle has been named director of entrepreneurship and innovation programming for the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.
His duties will include developing new entrepreneurial programs and working with existing events such as Startup Weekend and 1 Million Cups. Roughly 80 percent of the chamber's membership is defined as small business.
Chamber COO Graham Cobb said the dedication of a full-time employee to entrepreneurship programming is unique among chambers of commerce.
"This move marks a new era for us and a level of attention to new business challenges and entrepreneurship for which chambers typically do not take on the responsibility," he said.
Carlisle, a Little Rock native, founded the software startup Project Olympia before joining Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in December 2012. Since then, he has been active in the Arkansas startup community, helping launch Startup Weekend events in Little Rock and Fayetteville and organizing the inaugural Arkansas High School Startup Weekend, the first-ever Startup Weekend event devoted to high school students.
In addition, Carlisle is one the organizers of the Arkansas Venture Center, a startup accelerator and resource center temporarily housed at the Little Rock Chamber.
Tech-based entrepreneurship in central Arkansas is experiencing something of a boom. The Venture Center is up and running and offering many new programs and resources for entrepreneurship; the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub this summer plans to open its Argenta Innovation Center that will house a maker space and a co-working space to go along with a creative space and already existing programs; and Conway is developing its own unique startup scene.
Carlisle's goal is simple: help entrepreneurs and small business owners find solutions.
"When we as humans identify a need or a problem, it's our natural tendency to find a solution," Carlisle said. "This, at its core, is entrepreneurship. I'm here to help the Chamber provide the most current resources to those working to create these solutions."
Jordan graduated from the University of Missouri with bachelor's degrees in business administration and international studies.