Todd E Jones: Top Central Arkansas Tech Stories of 2013

December 30, 2013

Startup Weekend Little Rock
Startup Weekend Little Rock

By Todd E Jones

This past year was a great year for technology in Central Arkansas.

Technology prowess has to start when men and women are in school; this year is no exception.

These are just a few of the best Central Arkansas tech stories of 2013:

UCA students compete in Imagine Cup

A team of students from UCA competed in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition. The team flew to Russia to participate in the competition. The team finished third and won a $3,000 prize.

Josh Moody, a Little Rock Catholic senior, won ARK Challenge Prize

ARK Challenge chooses three winners, and in 2013, Moody and his team was chosen and received $150,000 in funding. The senior began his year in the startup accelerator bootcamp in Fayetteville, remotely attending Catholic High School in Little Rock.

Google comes to Arkansas

Google brought its Google in Education Summit to Conway giving teachers across the state an opportunity to learn more about Google products that can help in the classroom. Teachers learned about Google Hangouts and other products.

Youth Entrepreneurship Showcase announces finalists

In January, the Youth Entrepreneurship Showcase will have an expo which will showcase 26 finalists. Y.E.S. is a product of Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF) which is an affiliate of the Arkansas Capital Corporation in Little Rock.

Central Arkansas was blessed to have several excellent tech events in 2013.

BarCamp Conway

One of the first events of the year was BarCamp Conway, an un-conference which includes presentations from the participants. This was the third year for the Conway event.

Made by Few (Designed by Few)

Arlton Lowry is one of the organizers who brought this conference to Little Rock at the Clinton Library. This was the event’s second year, and the event speakers is an impressive list of tech experts across the country. The Made by Few group also hosted Designed by Few the same weekend.

Little Rock Techfest

Little Rock Techfest drew scores of skilled tech developers and designers across the state and region. The event was held at UALR and gives Little Rock another feather in its camp as being a top tech location.

ThinkBig Arkansas

ThinkBig Arkansas was the launch party for Startup Arkansas, an organization started by Lee Watson of Clarovista. The event was held at Hendrix College in Conway. The purpose of Startup Arkansas is to help nurture a “strong Arkansas entrepreneurial / startup ecosystem.”

Startup Weekend Little Rock

The excitement of the startup culture in Arkansas has grown over several years, and it exploded with Startup Weekend Little Rock. Participants had the opportunity to pitch and launch a startup business in one weekend. Hundreds showed up to the School of Public Service at the Clinton Library to participate.

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Global Entrepreneurship Week had a big impact on the community. Startup Arkansas created various opportunities for people to participate in Central Arkansas.

UALR team winner in the Governor’s Cup

Speaking of Entrepreneurship, the Governor’s Cup is always a prestigious award. The finalists were announced in April. Catch-22 of UALR was a winner.

Two big news in the world of startup and entrepreneurship was announced in Central Arkansas in 2013. The first was launch of Startup Arkansas by Lee Watson. It is a partnership with Startup America.

The second big news was the announcement of the Argenta Innovation Center which is now called the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in the Argenta district of North Little Rock.

The center will house a co-working space, a maker space for technology creation, a student STEM education lab and an art program space. The center is to be the first phase of a two phase innovation project. The facility will further enhance the technology, startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Central Arkansas as well as the state.

What is in store for 2014? (Todd E Jones is the owner of grafixCat media, an online design and consulting company in Conway. Todd also runs the AR Scene, a website focusing on technology, entertainment and sports in the state of Arkansas.)
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