Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Walton College Engages Students Through Summer Programs

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted four residential summer camps in June to introduce high school students to the University of Arkansas and Walton College.

The four camps introduce high ability minority students to career options, campus resources and campus life.

“Introducing college life to high school kids who may not otherwise have this opportunity is life changing,” said Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for Walton College. “Through our summer camp programs, these students meet faculty and staff, stay in dorm rooms and eat meals on campus, participate in research and learn about academic and career opportunities available to them.

“It changes their perception of college and makes them feel at home here.”

The Business Leadership Academy, held June 9-13, introduced newly admitted freshmen to campus life. The students enhanced leadership skills through team projects and met Walton staff and faculty. The program also told students about career opportunities in retail and marketing.

The Fleischer Scholars Program, held June 16-21, hosted two camps for low income high school juniors and seniors whose parents did not attend college. Fleischer Scholars Program I was for students new to the program. Fleischer Scholars Program II welcomed back students who attended the camp previously.

The weeklong camps taught students how to research, develop and present a business plan and helped them transition from high school to college. The Fleischer Scholars Program provides a four-year partial college scholarship to participants.

The Accounting Career Awareness Program was held June 23-28 for underrepresented high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers in accounting. Students attended undergraduate classes and networked with accouting professionals. Workshops focused on basic skills needed for accounting careers, business etiquette and requirements for certified public accountants.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion was established in 1994 to support, advocate and assist Walton College in developing plans for diversity and supporting students throughout the college. It is the oldest office of diversity at an Southeastern Conference business school and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. For more information regarding the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, visit walton.uark.edu/diversity.

 About the University of Arkansas:The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Free Innovation and Entrepreneurship Workshops for Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni

The McMillon Innovation Studio at the Sam M. Walton College of Business is joining forces with the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation to bring a series of workshops and services to university students, faculty, staff and alumni during the spring 2019 semester. The workshops and services focus on building skills needed for innovation, creative problem-solving and meaningful collaboration.

Free Workshops
This semester’s events include:

  • Creative Confidence – Participants learn how to strengthen team dynamics by applying art and theater principles like improvisation that build trust and agility. This 1-hour, interactive workshop is designed to:
    • Foster an open and collaborative environment.
    • Build creative confidence.
    • Facilitate an “agile” way of working.
    • Get people outside their comfort zone.

These workshops are deployed on an as-needed basis, typically at the start of a class with group projects. Email oei@uark.edu to schedule.

  • The Heart of the Customer – Deep empathy for the end user is a meaningful starting place for new innovations and businesses. Participants learn key techniques for empathizing and interacting with their audience – clients, users, patients or customers. This workshop helps participants:
    • Create an open mindset to change and iteration.
    • Understand empathy and why it is important.
    • Practice drawing key insights from an empathy map and customer discovery interviews.

Workshops will be held Feb. 20 from 5:45-7 p.m. at the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub just off the Fayetteville square or on Feb. 26 from noon-1:30 p.m. at the McMillon Studio located in the Harmon Parking Garage on campus.

  • Prototype and Iterate – Workshop attendees learn how to create, release and test “minimum delightful experiences.” Participants will gain experience rapid prototyping in a safe environment. By the end of this hands-on workshop, participants will:
    • Understand the importance of failure.
    • Know how to use feedback loops to inform iterations.
    • Practice prototyping in the McMillon Studio makerspace (3D printing, digital tools, sewing, drawing, etc.).

Workshops will be held March 6 from 5-6:30 p.m. or on March 12 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the McMillon Studio.

  • Setting Your Idea Free – This workshop is intended for people who have a prototype or a solution and need to get funders, partners or customers onboard. Participants will learn key storytelling techniques in a low-risk, highly interactive speed-pitching session. Participants will:
    • Learn the essential parts of a good story.
    • Learn how to identify a target audience and tailor a message to that audience.
    • Practice telling their stories live.

Workshops will be held March 27 from 5:45-7 p.m. at the Brewer Hub, April 2 from noon-1:30 p.m. at the McMillon Studio, and on April 10 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Brewer Hub.

  • Bootstrapping 101 – This workshop is intended for innovators who have validated an idea and need help getting it off the ground. Drawing from real-life case studies, this workshop will show how creatively pulling resources together can replace or supplement traditional financing. Attendees will:
    • Learn the principles of business viability (cost structure and revenue streams).
    • Learn how to identify and apply for grant funding.
    • Understand the value of interdisciplinary teams.

Workshop will be held April 3 from 5:45-7 p.m. at the Brewer Hub.

Additional entrepreneurial programs and services will also be available:

Speed Consulting – Individuals and teams working on a business or idea can bring their questions and get advice from a range of experienced consultants, in fields ranging from marketing to design to intellectual property, in one afternoon. Consultations will be held Feb. 20 from 2-4 p.m. at the Brewer Hub or on April 19 from 2- 4 p.m. at the McMillon Studio.

Speaker Series — Be inspired by intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs with a story to tell in an intimate, conversational setting.  Lectures are held April 17 and on May 1 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the McMillon Studio.

Faculty Bootcamp – Faculty interested in using innovation and entrepreneurship workshops in concert with their classes or programs can join this two-hour session for an overview of the content. Workshops will be held March 5 from noon-1:30 p.m. at the McMillon Studio and on March 6 from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Brewer Hub.

The Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub is located at 123 W. Mountain Street in Fayetteville. The McMillon Innovation Studio is located at 146 N. Harmon Avenue. 

All events require preregistration. To register for the workshops, visit oeiworkshops.eventbrite.com. For additional information, email mcmillon@walton.uark.edu or oei@uark.edu.

Movista Raises $12m to Further Leadership Position in Workforce Management Space

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a press release from Movista Inc., a company founded by April Seggebruch (Walton College B.S.B.A. 2005) and Walton MBA 2008 and Stan Zylowski (Walton MBA 2008).)

Bentonville, Ark. September 26, 2018 – Movista Inc., the leader in cloud-based labor and workforce management software for retailers, manufacturers, and service providers, announced its $12 million Series A growth equity investment. Funds will be used to deliver new product features, enhance technology innovation, expand sales and marketing, bolster talent development, and evaluate strategic opportunities. The investment, among the largest ever in an Arkansas based software firm, is led by New York based Level Equity, a software focused growth specialist with $1.65 billion in assets under management.

Movista, which turned eight years old in May, pioneered the use of smart device applications for managing mobile workforces. Demand for smart device software in the workplace has more than doubled for three consecutive years, with Movista’s recurring revenues up more than 300% since 2015. More than forty retail-focused enterprise clients leverage their smart platform to manage employees and contractors. Movista expects over 200,000 retail workers to be working on a daily basis, via their software, by 2020.

“Our goal is to have one million daily users within five years,” said CEO and Co-Founder, Stan Zylowski, “We will leverage the capital from this investment to expand and augment our product set, build a best-in-class business development team and share our story nationally.” April Seggebruch, COO and Co-Founder, further explained how having fresh capital changes dynamics inside the firm. “For the first time since our inception as a bootstrapped business, we now have the freedom to push every technical limit and innovate dramatically. We have plans in place and within twelve months will be installing solutions that were unimaginable even a few years ago.”

“We have closely tracked the explosive growth of BYOD and dedicated smart device usage within the enterprise for years and proactively identified Movista early on as a leader in the space” said Ben Levin, Founder and Co-CEO of Level Equity, who has joined Movista’s board of directors as part of the financing. “Their history in the retail market, exceptional and capital efficient growth and passionate commitment to client success sets them apart. We share their vision for continuing to build a world class workforce and labor management software business for retailers, manufacturers, and service providers.”

About Movista: Based in Bentonville, AR, Movista is a provider of mobile-first, real-time, enterprise-grade technical solutions to the retail market. The company, founded in 2010, employs nearly sixty employees across six states and serves more than forty clients including retailers, manufacturers and service providers. To learn more about Movista, visit www.movista.com.

Banner Year for Startup Teams in Regional, National Competitions

The medical device company Lapovations of the University of Arkansas received first place and best elevator pitch at the University of Oregon New Venture Championship competition. It was the team’s sixth overall victory in startup contests this year, with five of the wins coming in highly competitive national competitions. This victory establishes Lapovations as the most successful startup competition team in U of A history and brought their cash and investment winnings to just over $300,000.

Lapovations is led by graduate students in the College of Engineering and the Sam M. Walton College of Business. The team also took first place and best elevator pitch at the statewide Delta Plastics Arkansas Governor’s Cup, where University of Arkansas teams swept the graduate division awards and won first and second-place awards in the undergraduate agriculture track.

Lapovations: (l-r) Flavia Araujo, Michael Dunavant, and Jared Greer [Photo Courtesy Rice University]
Lapovations: (l-r) Flavia Araujo, Michael Dunavant, and Jared Greer [Photo Courtesy Rice University]
Lapovations is developing a platform of products that improve minimally invasive surgery. The company’s CEO, Jared Greer, is a master’s student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Flavia Araujo, a full-time M.B.A. student, and Michael Dunavant, an executive M.B.A. student, also competed as part of the team. The three students met in the graduate-level New Venture Development course taught by Carol Reeves, associate vice chancellor for entrepreneurship, whose teams have won more national business competitions since 2009 than those from any other university in America.

More Than a Class

“What people should understand about Dr. Reeves’ class is that it is not just an academic exercise,” said Jared Greer, CEO of Lapovations. “For teams like ours who have a viable business idea or commercial technology, it’s more like an accelerator program. In addition to excellent classroom instruction, we received in-depth mentoring from a network of experts, access to angel and venture capital investors, seed funding for customer validation from the Delta I-Fund, and around-the-clock coaching from our advisers during competition season. It was a lot of work but also the best possible preparation for starting and growing a new business.”

Lapovations also took second place in the prestigious Rice University Business Plan Competition and first in the Baylor University New Venture Competition, SXSW Pitch Texas, Stu Clark Investment Competition at the University of Manitoba, and the Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge at the University of Louisville. They took second place at the Ivey Business Plan Competition at Western University in Canada.

“Bringing new technologies to the life science market is more challenging than many people imagine,” said Reeves. “Lapovations’ stunning success in national startup competitions bodes well for the company’s future and each of the team members’ individual futures, because it is a direct result of their hard work, diligence, and willingness to learn from medical industry experts and potential customers.”

An Arkansas Tradition

Arkansas’ flagship business plan competition, the Delta Plastics Arkansas Governor’s Cup, attracts undergraduate and graduate teams from many of the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning. Lapovations was joined by U of A New Venture Development Teams UChooze Lunchbox and Ozark Microheater Systems, who won second and third place, respectively, in the graduate division. OMS also won the graduate division innovation award, which carried a cash prize of $5,000.

Two undergraduate teams from the University of Arkansas, Connor Innovation Roveround and SCAN Ag, won first and second place, respectively, in the agriculture track.

Sponsored in 2018 by Delta Plastics with a cash prize pool of $154,000, the Arkansas Governor’s Cup has since 2001 been organized by Arkansas Capital, through its 501(c)(3) Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF).

Delta Plastics Arkansas Governor’s Cup

Overall Graduate Winners

Lapovations wins 2018 Governor's Cup.
Lapovations wins 2018 Governor’s Cup.

1st Place: $25,000
Lapovations LLC
University of Arkansas
Team: Jared Greer, Michael Dunavant, Flavia Araujo
Advisers: Carol Reeves, Sarah Goforth

2nd Place: $15,000
Uchooze Lunchbox LLC
University of Arkansas
Team: William Rockefeller, Leslie Godwin, Daniel Maldonado, Rebecca Holgate, Tanya Welihindha
Advisers: Carol Reeves, Sarah Goforth

3rd Place: $10,000
Ozark Microheater Systems
University of Arkansas
Team: Benjamin McGuire, Joel Harris, Nicholas Holt, Jordan Wilcox
Advisers: Carol Reeves, Sarah Goforth

Innovation Division

Graduate: $5,000
Ozark Microheater Systems
University of Arkansas
Team: Benjamin McGuire, Joel Harris, Nicholas Holt, Jordan Wilcox
Advisers: Carol Reeves, Sarah Goforth

Agriculture Division 

Connor Innovation Roveround take first place in agriculture division.
Connor Innovation Roveround take first place in agriculture division.

1st Place: $5,000
Connor Innovation Roveround
University of Arkansas
Team: Cara Conner, Grant Conner
Adviser: Jeremy Powell

SCAN AG takes 2nd place in the agriculture division.
SCAN AG takes 2nd place in the agriculture division.

2nd Place: $3,000
SCAN AG
University of Arkansas
Team: Henderson Clement, Bailey Pratt, Branson Vanlandingham
Adviser: Mark Zweig

Elevator Pitch

Graduate: $2,000
Lapovations LLC
University of Arkansas
Team: Jared Greer, Michael Dunavant, Flavia Araujo
Advisers: Carol Reeves, Sarah Goforth

About the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The mission of the University of Arkansas’ Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation is to catalyze entrepreneurial activities and innovation across the university and throughout the state in order to build Arkansas’ knowledge-based economy and support healthy, sustainable communities. Since 2009, University of Arkansas students have won more national business plan competitions – 27 in all – than any other institution.