Arkansas Catches Teenpreneur Bug With Sparkible Startup Summer Camps

Arkansas,Startup,Accelerator, Sparkible, Teen entrepreneurs, teen startups

Last week we sat in on a pretty intense startup community meeting in Tennessee. During the meeting some of the community stakeholders reminded us that successful startup communities are drilling down even further with education.

Entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger. Stories about 22 year old entrepreneurs are regular occurrences. The new wave of entrepreneurs are teenagers, and we’re not talking the 18-19 year old variety. Earlier this month we reported that a team led by a 14-year-old won Tampa Bay’s most recent Startup Weekend.

Startup communities across the country are starting to recognize this trend of innovation and entrepreneurism hitting a younger demographic. Also in the beginning of the month, the Kauffman Foundation and Kansas City entrepreneur William Robinson announced Teen Idea Labs, a conference style event for teenagers.

Now Arkansas has announced an initiative aimed at teenagers and innovation. Sparkible is a 4 day mini-accelerator summer camp for teenagers, complete with a demo day for potential investors, educators, stakeholders, and of course parents.

Sparkible is the brain child of Arkansas serial entrepreneur Mike Steely with help from Northwest Arkansas serial entrepreneur and Ark Challenge mentor David Moody, Innovate Arkansas reports.

Steely posted on his LinkedIn:

I am pleased to announce the creation of Sparkible, a non-profit education company focused on sparking innovation and startup learning. Sparkible is kicking off a series of summer camps in Arkansas structured to immerse teenagers in idea creation, innovation and building a business. This series is also our initial fundraising effort, proceeds from the camps will be used to build out our technologies and curriculum for this fall.
If you would like to learn more, know of a potential camper who would be interested in attending, would be interested in sponsoring a camp or camp participant, please contact me and also go check out our startup website at
– See more at:

Sparkible will allow participants between the ages of 14-18 to:

  • Learn ways to spot innovative ideas
  • Experience the lean startup process for turning an idea to a plan in less than a day
  • Understand what it takes to build a startup company and define your role.
  • Learn how to build a team, plan, and develop your idea.
  • Understand how Social Media interacts with your company.
  • Understand how mobile technologies, including Apps, will impact businesses of the future.
  • How to craft your message via an elevator pitch for funding and growth.
  • Where to find startup capital to grow your idea into a business.

Find out more here at Innovate Arkansas.

Check out with these two kidpreneurs did with cardboard.






Image source.

Holy Apples Batman, Steve Wozniak To Speak In Arkansas April 7th For Free

This announcement comes to us by way of Lee Watson and Startup Arkansas .

Apple co-founder, and generally awesome tech geek extraordinaire, Steve Wozniak is speaking at the University of Arkansas next Sunday April 7th. Doors open at 6:00p,. The lecture and Q&A, with are part of the University of Arkansas’ “Distinguished Lecture Series.

The talk will take place at the Barnhill Arena and is free and open to the public. Seating will be first come firs served, so arrive early.

More info here.


Arkansas Thinks Big Everywhere Else

Arkansas, Startup Arkansas, Think Big Arkansas, Lee Watson, Startup Communities

Lee Watson organizer of Think Big Arkansas and Startup Arkansas (photo: NMI 2013)

Hendrix College in Conway Arkansas was bursting at the seams with young entrepreneurs and seasoned corporate executives. They’ve come together this morning to celebrate the kick off of Startup Arkansas and to Think Big Arkansas.

Event organizer, Lee Watson, did a great job of bringing startup community leaders from the entire state in to Conway for this event.

Scott Case the CEO of Startup America and founding CTO of Priceline will be keynoting today. Brad Feld, the author of Startup Communities should be at the event in the evening as well.

The morning session kicked off with entrepreneurs and event organizers from

Mike Smith, Innovate Arkansas (photo: NMI 2013)

organizations like BarCampConway, Startup Weekend, Innovate Arkansas, Ark Challenge, Made By Few and many others, to talk about what’s going on with their organization and how to bridge it all together in one cohesive unit.

In a pre-event dinner Thursday night Startup Arkansas Regional Champion Luke Coleman reached out to myself and Scott Case to address the problem that there are “cliques” in each part of Arkansas. Noooooo I had never heard of that before????

Case was able to give him some great advice which was summed up as “do you want the good news or the bad news first”, of course Coleman elected to take the bad news first which was “every region in Startup America has been in that same spot”, the good news? “Every region in Startup America has been in that same spot”.

Tennessee is no stranger to where Coleman sees a huge opportunity for growth, however in Tennessee we’ve done a great job of overcoming our hyper local focus and celebrating the victories in each of the 9 accelerator regions. It’s not uncommon to see a van or bus ful of Memphians at a Nashville or Chattanooga startup event, and vice versa.

Friday morning the parallels continued, confirming the main theme of the recent everywhereelse conference, startups and startup communities everywhere else have commonalities in problems and growth areas.

At the beginning of the event Arkansas Regional Champions Dave Moody, along with Coleman, brought 5 attendees up to the mic to share their ideas for a better community.

Abbey Keever with RedClay echoed one of Scott Case’s favorite themes,which was don’t try to be the next Silicon Valley. Keever, an experienced business woman and the fearless leader at RedClay, said she would love to see Arkansas expand in startups in their biggest areas, of course retail (Walmart) and logistics (Walmart and JB Hunt).

Most every startup community we’ve seen is starting to get their patriarch companies or at least their industries intertwined in the growth of the community.

Other ideas included keeping the dialoge open and holding vertical specific summits to give entrepreneurs access to closer related resources.

If you haven’t seen this amazing video from Thursday night, Go here now!