Local Partners

Walton Family Foudation

Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities.

Learn more about Walton Family Foundation.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield

Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has been helping improve the health, financial security and peace of mind of the people of Arkansas since its inception. As the oldest and largest health insurer in the state, Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliate companies are leaders in health insurance innovation at the state and national levels and provide a full spectrum of health insurance solutions ranging from Medicare supplement insurance for individuals to third-party administration for large, self-funded employer groups. An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Arkansas Blue Cross employs more than 3,200 people in about a dozen locations throughout the state. As a private, not-for-profit, mutual health insurance company, Arkansas Blue Cross is owned entirely by its members/policyholders. Our vision is a healthcare system that provides affordable and safe care for all citizens. Our mission is to provide individuals, families and organizations access to high-value health wellness services through innovative financing and delivery models.

Learn more about Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Arkansas Economic Development Corp.

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), a division of the Arkansas Department of Commerce, seeks to create economic opportunity by attracting higher-paying jobs, expanding and diversifying local economies in the state, increasing incomes and investment, and generating growth throughout The Natural State. Arkansas is a pro-business environment operating leaner, faster and more focused through a streamlined state government designed to act on corporate interests quickly and decisively.

Learn more about AEDC.



Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 722,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), an integrated energy company engaged in electric power production, transmission and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to 3 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy owns and operates one of the cleanest large-scale U.S. power generating fleets with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including 7,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,500 employees.


First Security



Hytrol designs and manufactures advanced conveyor systems for its customers. For 75 years, Hytrol has focused on creating innovative, customized conveyor solutions that help companies achieve their goals.



Northwest Arkansas Council

Northwest Arkansas Council

Founded in 1990 by Sam Walton, J.B. Hunt, Don Tyson and several other business leaders, the Northwest Arkansas Council serves as a regional convener for economic and community initiatives. The Council excels at identifying challenges and championing solutions to enhance the prosperity of the Northwest Arkansas region. Key initiatives include work to advance quality of life, attract talent, improve the region’s workforce, create job opportunities, upgrade infrastructure and keep up with the region’s impressive growth.

Learn more about Northwest Arkansas Council.

Ritter Communications

Ritter Communications

Ritter Communications is the largest privately held telecommunications service provider in the Mid-South, offering world-class broadband fiber, telecom, video, cloud and data services. The company has grown rapidly over the years, investing millions recently in technology infrastructure and is now serving over 100 communities with more than 45,000 business, residential and wholesale customers in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, and Tennessee. Headquartered in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Ritter Communications invests heavily in the communities it serves by deploying proven, best-in-class infrastructure and technology, while coupling it with a world-class customer-focused experience. The company is a 2022 Arkansas Business of the Year Award recipient.

Learn more at RitterBusiness.com or RightFiber.com.

Simmons Bank

Simmons First

Since our 1903 founding in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Simmons Bank has been dedicated to turning our communities’ financial dreams into reality. Simmons Bank has catapulted to an over $25 billion-asset company operating in six states. More than our recent growth, however, what truly sets Simmons apart is our strong heritage as a community bank – warmth, trust and personal touch define our culture, and are felt at every level of our company. Simmons Bank’s community bank roots are felt in the ways we seek to go the extra mile for our customers and communities through exceptional service and volunteerism, and in the strong career growth opportunities and wellness programs we offer our associates. We offer a full suite of financial products and services, backed by strong relationships with our customers and communities.

Startup Junkie

Startup Junkie Consulting/Conductor

Through united efforts, the Startup Junkie team is improving lives through innovation and entrepreneurship. Startup Junkie Consulting marked its beginnings in 2008, founded by Jeff Amerine, and formally organized as an LLC in 2011 by offering consulting services at no-cost to entrepreneurs. In order to expand the reach, impact, and depth of services, Startup Junkie Foundation was born in 2015 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. As two organizations sharing the same purpose, mission, vision, and values, the team is jointly building entrepreneurial ecosystems in Northwest Arkansas through providing no-cost, one-on-one consulting; events, workshops, and programs; and access to capital and talent. In Central Arkansas, Startup Junkie is known as the Conductor, and since 2016 through a public-private partnership with UCA, the Conductor has become a prolific entrepreneurial support organization putting UCA on the global map as an epicenter for innovation. Extending outside of the Ozarks and Arkansas, Startup Junkie is also boosting emerging entrepreneurial communities spanning from Korea to Canada and South America.

Learn more about Startup Junkie.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)

The Institute for Digital Health & Innovation (IDHI), at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, has one mission – eliminate health care disparities in Arkansas and abroad by leveraging digital health and health care innovations that improve the access and quality of clinical care, research and education. IDHI clinical programs provide digital health services that address a variety of unique health care needs to help provide Arkansans equal access to care wherever they live.

University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas is determined to build a better world by providing transformational opportunities and skills, promoting an inclusive and diverse culture, nurturing creativity, and solving problems through research and discovery, all in service to Arkansas.

Winrock International

Winrock International

Winrock builds entrepreneurial ecosystems by providing connections and coaching to a diverse universe of small and medium-sized enterprises, from high-tech startups to Main Street businesses. We connect entrepreneurs with the ideas, people and resources they need to create profitable ventures. We offer startup accelerators, bootcamps, job portals — and most of all, a continuum of support.

Learn more about Winrock International.

The Venture Center

We inspire social and economic change in Arkansas and around the world. The Venture Center focuses on education, collaboration, and acceleration within the startup ecosystem. To fuel innovation, we partner with entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, government agencies, non-profits, venture funds, service providers, program alumni and other organizations in the community.