NOVEMBER 16, 2016

CONTACT: Christina Madsen, christinam@uca.edu or 501-852-2659

Jeff Standridge, jeffs@arconductor.org or 501-514-3206


CONWAY--The University of Central Arkansas has partnered with Startup Junkie Consulting and the Central Arkansas Venture Team to launch a public-private initiative aimed at driving entrepreneurship and innovation across UCA, central Arkansas and beyond.


This new initiative, simply called Conductor, is sponsored by the university and will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 4:30 p.m. at UCA Downtown. The Conductor will focus on delivering mentoring, counseling, training, capital readiness, and technical assistance to startups, small businesses and emerging investors in Central Arkansas. 


“UCA has always been a leader in central Arkansas. Launching this initiative will serve our students, our faculty and our community for years to come. In fact, I’m confident we will look back in a few years and see this as a pivotal moment in our evolution as an institution,” said UCA President Tom Courtway.


This Conductor is powered by the Central Arkansas Venture Team (CAVT), a group of executive consultants, coaches, local leaders and experts. In addition to providing world-class programming and consulting for startups and small businesses, the Conductor will provide innovation and commercialization support for UCA and all of its academic programs.


In addition, the university has also engaged the Innovation Hub at Winrock International to create an on-campus maker space that will offer advanced tools, technology, and equipment for educational and entrepreneurial use.  Students, faculty, and community members will have access to the space, which will be modeled after the Innovation Hub’s original location in North Little Rock.  The Innovation Hub will also provide expertise and programs to facilitate rapid prototyping and other services. 


“The Innovation Hub is very grateful for the opportunity to work with UCA and the Conductor to extend our entrepreneurial and education programming to its campus community,” said Warwick Sabin, senior director for U.S. Programming at Winrock International. “We are also pleased to be part of all of the exciting developments at UCA and in Conway, and we hope that these efforts can be a model for how to stimulate more innovation and economic development across Arkansas.”


Jeff Standridge, CAVT team leader further explained, “Conway has a very unique set of assets, as does UCA. It is critical that we begin leveraging these collective assets to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. The difference in leveraging the services of the Conductor for a student, faculty or any other aspiring entrepreneur could literally mean the difference between getting their idea off the ground and never seeing any benefit from their idea or invention.”


Standridge said this initiative has been in the works for more than three years, first as a small steering team of volunteers then evolving into a movement that will change the entrepreneurial landscape of the region.



The Conductor is a public-private initiative powered by the Central Arkansas Venture Team, sponsored by the University of Central Arkansas and supported by Startup Junkie Consulting and Community Venture Foundation. The Conductor supports and assists startups, small businesses and other players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in central Arkansas. The Conductor will promote Conway and UCA to become nationally recognized for entrepreneurship and innovation. More information can be found at www.arconductor.org.