Startup Village Expanding Access to Co-Working Space With New Bentonville Location

Startup Village North will provide access to the U of A Collaborative in Bentonville, allowing members to use hot desk workstations, conference rooms and other amenities like free parking, WiFi and a self-service kitchenette.
Raleigh Woods

Startup Village North will provide access to the U of A Collaborative in Bentonville, allowing members to use hot desk workstations, conference rooms and other amenities like free parking, WiFi and a self-service kitchenette.

BENTONVILLE — Startup Village, a program offering free co-working space to early-stage, scalable ventures affiliated with the U of A, is expanding to Bentonville, creating north and south nodes for a corridor that program leaders hope will catalyze entrepreneurship across several cities in Northwest Arkansas. 

The Bentonville site, Startup Village North, will be in The Collaborative, U of A's education and research space adjacent to the Razorback Greenway at 700 S.E. 5th St.  

Startup Village North offers 24 hot desk workstations, six high-top seats and two conference rooms that seat up to four guests. Membership includes access to The Collaborative's free parking, WiFi and a self-service kitchenette. 

"Our team is thrilled to host the second Startup Village location in Bentonville," said Toby Teeter, director of The Collaborative. "Our partnership extends University of Arkansas' robust service area and gives the critical benefit of free workspace to more entrepreneurs and founders in our region." 

Overseen by the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (OEI), Startup Village launched in 2019 with two companies inside the historic Hathcock Building in downtown Fayetteville. That location will now be known as Startup Village South. 

Both sites share space with the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC), giving founders in the program proximity and access to business counsel and other services offered by ASBTDC staff. Members will also be embedded within additional OEI programming offered throughout the year to ensure access to additional resources and support.  

There are slight differences between each space, most notably that access in Bentonville is limited — for now — to weekday business hours. Membership into Startup Village is free, and companies are selected through a competitive membership application process.  

Applications for membership are open to early-stage companies, defined as scalable, pre-revenue ventures developing a product or service that have limited operational history and minimal market presence — or are in their first year of revenue and are continuing to refine their business model.

University undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff and affiliates are welcome to apply. Affiliates include community members who are active participants, or past participants, in any business incubation programming sponsored by OEI and/or ventures counseled and serviced by ASBTDC.

Accepted members are granted an initial six-month term, which can be extended for a second six-month term if they demonstrate progress and growth. The first year of membership is free. Members wanting a second and final year of access in Startup Village will be charged a nominal membership fee (between $25 - $50 per month depending on the location) which will fund program supplies and events.  

"We welcome applications from newer founders, teams and entrepreneurs from across the region who could benefit from free space to work on their scalable ventures in a dedicated environment," said Zoe Buonaiuto, associate director for entrepreneurship. "All industries are welcome." 

Current Startup Village South members include Venku, a marketplace for outdoor experiences, which has a team of undergraduate U of A staff members, and Rejoicy, an e-commerce platform co-founded by a U of A alumnus. Nyarai Skin Care, founded by another U of A student, is a vegan-based skincare company offering products that fight acne, dark spots, scars and fine lines.

Tech startup AutoWillow, which is developing an autonomous lawn-care robot, recently "graduated" from the space and is currently seeking additional funding.  

The two inaugural companies at Startup Village South — Lapovations and MORE Technologies — have had continued success since leaving the Startup Village program. Formed by graduate students in the university's New Venture Development program, Lapovations developed a laparoscopic device, AbGrab, that enables surgeons to lift the abdomen less invasively and more reliably prior to surgery.

In June 2021, the company received a $100,000 Small Businesses Innovation Research Phase II Matching Grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and moved into the Arkansas Research and Technology Park. Lapovations has since received FDA approval for its device and completed an oversubscribed Series A.  

Meanwhile, the undergraduate co-founders of MORE Technologies, which specialized in the sale of educational robotics kits, exited after the acquisition of the company's technology assets and patents in March 2021 by Colorado-based Sphero, an industry leader.   

About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and curates innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students across all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village and Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, OEI provides free workshops and programs — including social and corporate innovation design teams, venture internships, competitions and startup coaching. A unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Division of Economic Development, OEI also offers on-demand support for students who will be innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs who start something new.  

About the U of A Collaborative: The Collaborative is the U of A education and research presence in Bentonville and catalyst to propel the state's innovation ecosystem. Bentonville is a special place, fueled by the migration of creators from all around the world. The U of A is uniquely qualified to accelerate innovation ecosystem development through workforce development, start-up acceleration in strategic sectors, the application of data science and the commercialization of research and technology. 

About ASBTDC: The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) at the U of A helps small businesses thrive. Their team provides one-on-one confidential consulting and guidance to support enterprising Arkansans in the Northwest Arkansas region. They also offer affordable workshops to help you gain the knowledge and skills that entrepreneurs and business owners need to succeed. 

 

Contacts

Zoe Buonaiuto, associate director for entrepreneurship
Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
479-575-7347, zbuo@uark.edu

Brandon Howard, communication and social media specialist
Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
501-707-5779, bjhoward@uark.edu

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