Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor, along with Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) today announced a $2 million grant to jumpstart a jobs initiative project in northwest Arkansas.  The project, Launching the ARK, will help develop and grow new startup companies in northwest Arkansas. 

Launching the ARK (Acceleration, Resources, Knowledge) was selected as a winning project of the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a competitive federal grant program to promote energy, advanced manufacturing, information technology, aerospace, and clean technology sectors.  The challenge is expected to increase the formation of high-growth and existing businesses and boost the creation of high-wage jobs.  Nationwide, the program is expected to create 5,000 jobs and 280 new businesses. 

“This project will spur innovation and promote the next generation of private sector jobs,” Boozman said.

“In the IT world, a smart idea combined with right combination of technical assistance and seed money can launch the next Google or other multi-billion company. I look forward to this program’s success,” Pryor said.

 “Northwest Arkansas has developed tremendous potential in the last couple of decades.  We are proving to be an incredible incubator of business and technology, and I look forward to the work our established companies and institutions will do with these up-and-coming businesses to spur economic growth. Congratulations to Launching the ARK – I look forward to seeing the great work they will do for our state,” said Womack.

Winrock International, the University of Arkansas, and the Northwest Arkansas Community College will collaborate on the project, helping develop and grow new technology startup companies in Washington, Benton, and Madison counties.   Launching the ARK will establish an annual information technology start up “boot camp” to draw new startup companies from the region and will participate in a national mentoring and commercialization process to help develop IT companies and jobs in the retail, transportation and logistics, and food processing industries.  More information about Launching the ARK and the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge can be found at http://www.eda.gov/InvestmentsGrants/jobsandinnovationchallenge.