Endeavor, a global organization that supports and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs through connecting them with talent, capital, and a worldwide peer and mentor network, is announcing the launch of a new office in Northwest Arkansas, to aid growth and economic development in the region.
Launching with a $2 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation, Endeavor Heartland will leverage the strong engagement and backing from local business leaders to support the founders and companies in the region that have passed through the initial start-up phase and who demonstrate the potential for rapid expansion and scale.
“Entrepreneurship helped build Northwest Arkansas and continues to transform it today,” said Tom Walton, chair of the Walton Family Foundation Home Region Committee. “Endeavor will build on that legacy by providing the most promising startups in the region opportunities to scale up, contributing to our efforts to grow local businesses and attract new industries.”
Founded in 1997, Endeavor has helped 1,800 of these entrepreneurs build more than 1,100 companies in 34 markets throughout North America, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, which generated combined revenues of $15 billion in 2017. To date, companies led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created 1.5 million jobs in their local economies, and often go on to mentor and invest in the next generation of founders.
“We’re thrilled to launch Endeavor in Northwest Arkansas to connect high-impact entrepreneurs in the Heartland with a truly global network of peer and mentor support,” said Endeavor Co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “With invaluable backing from the Walton Family Foundation, we’re confident Endeavor Northwest Arkansas will help strengthen the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and economy.”
Northwest Arkansas is on track to become a hub of innovation for startup ventures. According to the 2018 State of the Northwest Arkansas Region Report jointly prepared by the Northwest Arkansas Council and The Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, there were 1,364 new businesses established from 2012 to 2017. An ecosystem of support is evolving with growing initiatives from private funds, the public sector, and surrounding universities. The region is also home to a talent pool from a nationally-ranked university, as well as Fortune 500 companies with strong local ties and an interest in reinvesting.
Endeavor sees enormous opportunity for its model to address some of the key challenges Northwest Arkansas – like many U.S. regions – faces, such as the exodus of highly educated individuals to cities with larger entrepreneurial support systems. Endeavor Heartland will focus on selecting high-impact entrepreneurs and businesses from multiple sectors that have the potential to scale significantly and reinvest back into the country by mentoring and providing financial support for successive generations of entrepreneurs. The office will concentrate on providing these entrepreneurs with access to capital, talent and a worldwide network mentor and peer connections.
Endeavor Heartland is anchored by a strong founding Board of Directors, chaired by Elise Mitchell, Founder and Chairman of Mitchell Communications. The Board also includes: Carl George, Co-CEO/President of George’s Inc.; Ashley Hubka, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development at Walmart; Todd Simmons, CEO of Simmons Foods; and Clete Brewer, Managing Partner at New Road Capital Partners.
“This region’s entrepreneurial heritage is a rich one indeed,” said Elise Mitchell, Endeavor Heartland Board Chair. “Many of us were fortunate to build companies here. But the obstacles entrepreneurs face in smaller markets are significant. Endeavor [Heartland] will allow us to provide fast-scaling entrepreneurs with resources that can further accelerate their growth and enable them to have an even greater impact on the region.”
Endeavor announced its Northwest Arkansas office will be led by Canem Arkan. Canem was formerly a managing director at Axonic Capital, and prior to that spent the majority of her career at Goldman Sachs.
Endeavor Heartland will be Endeavor’s sixth launch in the U.S. since 2012, when the organization first began exploring the possibility of entering the country. After years of assuming that major success of cities such as San Francisco, New York City, and Boston meant that American entrepreneurs did not need the range of networking, mentoring, and support services provided by Endeavor, it became clear that many cities, especially those in the Heartland, lacked strong entrepreneurship ecosystems despite being home to immense talent pools. Today, Endeavor supports entrepreneurs in Miami, Detroit, Louisville, Atlanta, and Puerto Rico.
For entrepreneurs interested in learning more about Endeavor in Northwest Arkansas, please connect with the team at [email protected].
Endeavor is a 21 year-old organization that is leading the global movement to drive long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. Founded in 1997 by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner, Endeavor has helped 1,800 of these entrepreneurs build more than 1,000 companies across 30 markets, which generated combined revenues of $15 billion in 2017. To date, companies led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created 1.5 million jobs, and often go on to mentor and invest in the next generation of founders, or serve on the boards of Endeavor offices. To learn more, visit www.endeavor.org.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2017, the foundation awarded more than $535 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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Walton Family Foundation