The Venture Center took home the top prize in the Best Fintech Accelerator/Incubator category at the second annual Finovate Awards, an international competition.
The Little Rock nonprofit bested four other finalists chosen by a group of prominent fintech industry professionals from around the world.
In addition, two alumni of the Venture Center’s programs also walked away from the awards as winners. Finzly of Charlotte, North Carolina — a 2020 ICBA ThinkTECH alumnus — won in the Best Enterprise Payments Solution category. Teslar Software of Springdale — a 2019 ICBA ThinkTECH alumnus — won in the Best Fintech Partnership category. It was for its PPP.Bank partnership with Citizens Bank of Edmond.
"Words could never adequately convey our excitement. Our incredible partners from the state of Arkansas, FIS, and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) made this win possible and demonstrates what can happen when people, organizations, and entrepreneurs collaborate,” Executive Director Wayne Miller said in a news release. “Together, we're showing the world that Little Rock, Arkansas, continues to build on its esteemed fintech history. Previously known as the birthplace of fintech, today Little Rock is the epi-center of fintech innovation."
Gov. Asa Hutchinson added said the center has "supported and groomed many impressive companies and entrepreneurs in a short amount of time. The Center’s success enhances Arkansas’ reputation as a leader in financial technology and computer science.”
Gary Norcross, chairman, president and CEO of FIS, said, “Five years ago, we had a common vision to create a world-class accelerator based in Arkansas. Today, that vision is bringing innovative, real-world fintech solutions to our clients around the world.”
“This honor is further validation of the hard work and dedication of the Venture Center in fostering an environment where innovation flourishes,” said Kevin Tweddle, ICBA senior executive vice president of community bank solutions.