Local News: Main Street Eureka Springs Launches Ozark Incubator Program (3/31/22)
Main Street Eureka Springs is offering three sessions of the Artist and Makers Ozark Incubator (OZ INC) program starting in May 2022. The program utilizes the CO.STARTERS Core, a 10-session cohort-based program that provides artists and maker entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships and tools needed to turn business ideas into action.
Drawing on the experience of successful entrepreneurs and startup veterans around the world, the OZ INC program, in partnership with CO.STARTERS, guides creative small business owners through simple business modeling methods and effective while connecting them to a supportive community. peers and mentors. Rather than treating a business like a big business and writing a detailed business plan, OZ INC participants are first encouraged to build and test small models. During the process, participants receive real-time customer feedback, update their models to meet customer needs, and avoid building businesses based on incorrect assumptions.
The OZ INC program is open to all artists and creators in Northwest Arkansas, and the door is open more broadly to LGBTQ+ and 50+ artists and creators. Statistically, these two groups of entrepreneurs are marginalized in the business development space, and OZ INC ensures that they are represented in every cohort. Additionally, this unique cohort program will result in a wholesale marketplace allowing retailers in Northwest Arkansas to meet with manufacturers and purchase directly from them.
In Northwest Arkansas, OZ INC will be implemented and facilitated by Main Street Eureka Springs Facilitator Kristen Schmitt-Dykes, a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of professional experience in all business operations. Schmitt-Dykes has owned and operated several businesses and has extensive knowledge of sales, marketing and media production. Schmitt-Dykes is a certified small business consultant, published author, and avid traveler, having recently spent a year in Thailand.
Main Street Eureka Springs brings 15 years of consulting and entrepreneur development to this project to ensure the expansion of artist and creative entrepreneurs in the region. The 10-week program will begin in May 2022. Application is now open at mainstreeteurekasprings.org and is due May 6, 2022, for the first cohort beginning May 14, 2022.
Eureka Springs has been a community of artists since the 1930s. It’s the perfect backdrop to develop an incubator that focuses on developing entrepreneurial resources and educating Northwest artists and creators. Arkansas. Main Street Eureka Springs wants to be the hub of this education and development, creating a community of thriving artists and makers and a resource for retailers looking for locally made products.
“While the pandemic has prevented us from launching this program, we have refined the offering to help regional artists and creators in Northwest Arkansas get to market. They will have the opportunity to grow and develop their business acumen and create a community of creators who will launch their businesses. We intend to create this center of ongoing entrepreneurial resources for them for the long term,” said Jacqueline Wolven, Executive Director of Main Street Eureka Springs. “It is also important for the organization and the region to have an incubator center open more broadly to artists and creators LGBTQ+ and over 50 to ensure a thriving community over time. Finally, retailers will also be encouraged to connect directly with manufacturers, creating an ecosystem that thrives in the region. »
Small businesses remain one of the fundamental economic drivers of local economies and job creation. Yet these smaller-scale startups haven’t received the same level of support as their high-growth counterparts. Main Street Eureka Springs OZ INC, in partnership with CO.STARTERS, aims to close this gap.
“If you look beyond Silicon Valley and New York, there are countless communities teeming with talented entrepreneurs, but they lack the organized community support they need to thrive,” said Enoch Elwell, founder of CO.STARTERS. “CO.STARTERS provides a structure for these communities to achieve their economic growth goals and gives them an easy way to create the connections they are already trying to develop.”
For more information about OZ INC, visit mainstreeteurekasprings.org.