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Lee Watson

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Arkansas Looks to Utah as a Blueprint for Economic Development SuccessLock Icon

Arkansas Commerce Secretary Hugh McDonald looks to Utah as a model when it comes to attracting high-tech industries, ranging from internet startups and biotech firms to pharmaceuticals, defense contractors and fintech companies. read more >
Education / Government & Politics / Investments / Media & Marketing / Small Business / Tourism

Arkansas Leaders See Utah’s High-Tech Success as Model for Economic Transformation

Utah, with its emphasis on research, entrepreneurship and quality of life, has become one of the top states for high-tech industries. Arkansas is looking to borrow from the western state's playbook. read more >
Education / Energy

UA Little Rock Expands Efforts to Strengthen Cybersecurity in Energy Sector

The project is supported by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. read more >
Business Services / Education / Government & Politics / Manufacturing / Nonprofits / Small Business

Everything is a Computer: The Importance of Computer Science for Arkansas (Lee Watson Commentary)

Computer science is not just a career pathway, it's part of every single aspect of our world. read more >
Education / Government & Politics

Update: Senate Panel Advances Similar Version of Computer Science Bill

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday said it's still against the proposal. read more >
Albert Baker, now chair of UA Little Rock’s Department of Computer Science, works with UA Little Rock students in 2018, when he was a visiting professor.
Education / Government & Politics / Nonprofits

Arkansas Ahead of Curve in Developing Cybersecurity Talent

Educators and others in the state are collaborating to fill the talent gap accompanying the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals. read more >
Lee Watson, founder of The Forge Institute
Business Services / Education

Consortium Aims to Make Arkansas a Leader in Cybersecurity

The new group's goals include creating “a strategic regional industry cluster in emerging technologies" and aid the creation of more tech jobs. read more >
Lee Watson, founder of The Forge Institute
Education / Nonprofits / Technology

Tech Firm, Nonprofit Build Talent Pipeline

What do North Little Rock’s First Orion and the nonprofit Forge Institute in Little Rock have in common? They’re both building the tech talent pipeline in Arkansas, albeit differently. read more >
Business Services / Government & Politics

Rural Community Alliance Awarded $1M Workforce Training Grant

The grant will allow the Forge Institute to offer its seven-week information technology/cyber fundamentals and 14-week cyber training bootcamp courses for free to more than 50 people. read more >

Forge Institute, Acxiom Announce Strategic Partnership

Forge Institute of Little Rock and Acxiom of Conway recently announced a strategic partnership that aims to provide more cybersecurity training opportunities and have Arkansans hired to fill cybersecurity positions. read more >

Forge Institute Partners With 2 UA Campuses on Cybersecurity Research

Forge Institute of Little Rock, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock announced Tuesday a partnership to advance applied research in areas that support our national defense, including cybersecurity. read more >

Forge Partners with ADE to Provide Cybersecurity Training

Forge Institute of Little Rock announced late Tuesday its partnership with the Arkansas Department Education to provide virtual cybersecurity training to district and school technology staff across the state. read more >
Lee Watson, chief innovator and former CEO of the Venture Center of Little Rock
Business Services / Education / Small Business

Apprenticeship Program Aims to Fill Open Jobs in Cybersecurity

Two new Little Rock technology organizations have partnered to create a 16-week cybersecurity apprenticeship program. read more >
Wayne Miller, Executive Director of the Venture Center
Small Business

Venture Center Names Wayne Miller Executive Director

Wayne Miller, managing director of the Venture Center’s FinTech Accelerator, has been named executive director of the Little Rock-based nonprofit. read more >
Lee Watson, chief innovator and former CEO of the Venture Center of Little Rock
Investments / Small Business

Venture Center CEO Lee Watson Moves to ‘Chief Innovator’ Role

The Venture Center of Little Rock says CEO Lee Watson will move into a newly created position, "chief innovator," and that a former Acxiom Corp. leader, Bill Yoder, will be interim CEO. read more >
Lee Watson, chief innovator and former CEO of the Venture Center of Little Rock
Business Services / Education / Manufacturing / Small Business

Lee Watson on Supporting Startups Taking First Steps at Venture Center

Lee Watson with the Venture Center explains what it does, and how entrepreneurs are turning their dreams into businesses. read more >
From left to right: Lee Watson, Shelly Loftin, U.S. Rep. French Hill and U.S. Rep. Patrick T. McHenry.
Banking & Finance / Government & Politics / Small Business

Hill, McHenry: CHOICE Act Will Help Community Banks, Fintech Startups

The priorities of two congressmen supporting the Financial CHOICE Act are to offer community banks on “off ramp” from Dodd-Frank regulations, better define systemically important banks and bring accountability as well as transparency to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. read more >
Banking & Finance / Small Business

Venture Center, Bear State Bank Partner on FinTech Accelerator

The Venture Center of Little Rock on Thursday announced its partnership with Bear State Bank for the 2017 VC FinTech Accelerator, which is sponsored by global technology services provider FIS and held at the Little Rock Technology Park. read more >
Banking & Finance

Demo Day for VC FinTech Accelerator is Aug. 3

Seats are filling up, with more than 200 expected to attend the Venture Center’s VC FinTech Accelerator’s Global Investor Demo Day to be held from 1-5 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Clinton Presidential Library. read more >
Venture Center President Lee Watson on Wednesday, at the first Lift The Rock event, announces that its members have raised $6.8 million in seed capital and created more than 153 jobs in the two years the center has been open.
Banking & Finance / Small Business

Venture Center Holds Inaugural ‘Lift the Rock’ Event

About 30 people attended the Venture Center's first-ever "Lift the Rock" event, featuring VC FinTech Accelerator startup FundSeeder of Westport, Connecticut. read more >