Arkansas Business has announced five nominees for the Innovation Pacesetter category at the 36th annual Arkansas Business of the Year ceremony on Feb. 21.
The category honors startups or existing companies that are remaking an old industry or charting an entirely new course to create a new market.
The finalists are:
- ArcBest Corp. of Fort Smith, a publicly traded trucking company
- CulluDot LLC of Fayetteville, a bio-based emulsion technologies firm
- Cobb-Vantress Inc. of Siloam Springs, a poultry research and development company
- hDrop Technologies Inc. of Little Rock, a maker of wearable sports technology
- Namida of Fayetteville, a biotech company that specializes in biomarker-based testing
The finalists were selected by an outside panel of judges and will be celebrated at an awards ceremony on Feb. 21 from 7-9 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. The event is presented by The Hatcher Agency and UnitedHealthcare.
A list of finalists in other categories is available here.
Companies in the Innovation Pacesetter category must have been in business for at least three years and have revenue, user and/or investment traction. They must have demonstrated incremental innovation, enabling small but important improvements or extensions to existing products, services or processes; breakthrough innovation, using a new technology to create new product, service or process; or disruptive innovation, resulting in an entirely new product, service or process to address the unmet needs in the market or organization.
The Feb. 21 ceremony will also honor Joe Ford, co-founder and chairman of Westrock Coffee Co. of Little Rock. Ford will receive the annual Legacy of Leadership Award.
Past recipients of the Legacy of Leadership award include Mack McLarty, chairman of The McLarty Companies and onetime White House chief of staff for President Bill Clinton; longtime Little Rock businessman and community leader Sherman Tate; billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist Johnelle Hunt; former banker and restaurant franchise owner Wallace Fowler; and former Simmons First National Corp. CEO J. Thomas “Tommy” May.