Business has the power to reduce unemployment and poverty, drive innovation and promote equality. Winrock helps small businesses and entrepreneurs deliver those benefits by increasing access to the training, technologies and partnerships necessary to improve products and connect with new markets.
Budding entrepreneurs in the Mississippi River Delta region often lack resources crucial to business success — a deficit that discourages job creation, stunts economic growth and perpetuates persistent poverty. To address these issues, the Delta I-Fund program, in partnership with the Delta Regional Authority, trains cohorts of entrepreneurs in successful startup practices, connects them with local business mentors and provides them with capital sourced from private investors. Bolstered by knowledge and funding, these businesspeople are better prepared to bring their innovative ideas to life.
Contact: Jeff Stinson
Though the bulk of Winrock’s programs are outside the United States, we are committed to improving lives in our home state of Arkansas by boosting the state’s competitiveness in the increasingly important high-tech economy. To do that, we work with technology inventors and entrepreneurs to smooth the often difficult journey from raw idea or insight to viable commercial enterprise. Innovate Arkansas helps scale Arkansas ventures through three key focuses: Acceleration, Capital, and Talent. Innovate Arkansas has helped more than 140 clients add 600+ jobs to the Arkansas economy while raising $265 million in investments, and generating $226 million in revenue.
Guinea has plenty of farmable land and water, a large youth population, and three quarters of its labor force employed in agriculture. But despite these advantages, the nation is still one of the poorest in the world. One reason is the lack of opportunity that prevents women and youth from contributing significantly to the economy. Guinea’s Strengthening Market-Led Agricultural Research, Technology and Education (SMARTE) is enhancing the nation’s agricultural strengths by working with these populations, boosting education, promoting agricultural extension and introducing new technologies.
The Innovation Hub is a collaborative and diverse community of all ages, interests, and skill levels. We have worked hard to create an accessible space that is open to anyone who wants to Learn and Build with us. We believe that the challenges of the 21st-century economy require us to do everything we can to develop, retain, and attract talent — which has always been our state’s greatest asset. That demands a collaborative community approach that exposes everyone to creative possibilities and offers ready access to the information, resources, and instruction they need to bring their ideas to fruition.
We have created an open environment with tools, technology, equipment, and support, along with the opportunity to Learn and Build through formal and informal programs. The result is an acceleration of innovation that leads to new products, new businesses, and new works of art, as well as an enhanced appreciation for what it possible when we provide the pathways for every individual to realize his or her potential.
Tanzania has relatively abundant water resources, although population growth and poor management has made shortages increasingly common. The goal of this project is to use market-driven approaches to support sustainable access to water, particularly in poor and rural areas. Part of the solution is to increase the number and effectiveness of entrepreneurs engaged in water supply, sanitation and hygiene activities in remote villages. Also important is the implementation of a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach that bases planning and financing strategies around a community’s many domestic and commercial water needs.
Success in the global economy starts at the local level. Only when communities have access to capital, business knowledge, trained employees and other resources can companies launch and grow. This program establishes business development incubators across Arkansas that provides rural entrepreneurs the information and training they need to succeed.
As the home base for Walmart and Tyson Foods, Northwest Arkansas has done a remarkable job attracting and retaining large corporations. But creating an environment that lures innovative technology entrepreneurs and the high-paying jobs they create requires something a bit different. Building on the success of Innovate Arkansas, the NWA Venture team, in partnership with the Walton Family Foundation and the Northwest Arkansas Council, brings together a community of engineers, artists and innovators to build a region that draws and keeps entrepreneurs from around the globe.
Increased globalization and economic downturns have buffeted rural communities throughout Arkansas. Decisions about how to respond and rebuild a rural community’s economic base often fall to municipal leaders, many of whom lack the staff, knowledge and resources to develop effective economic development strategies. Through group training and one-on-one mentoring, this program helps municipal leaders develop road maps for increased quality of place that attracts families and businesses and creates sustainable economies.
Technology and innovation will create the 21st century’s best and highest-paying jobs. To help its home state reap the benefits of technology-driven economic development, Winrock’s Innovate Arkansas program is a critical resource for the state’s entrepreneurs. Through one-on-one client assistance specific to a company’s needs, we work to transform promising ideas and inventions into sustainable businesses.
America’s small businesses have always been an engine for innovation and job creation. In Winrock’s home state of Arkansas, women-owned small businesses have been growing at a rate 1.5 times faster than the national average. Through the Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC), Winrock is helping fuel that trend by providing thousands of hours of training and the sort of access to markets and capital that entrepreneurs need to grow their companies.
American consumers increasingly recognize that locally grown food is not only fresh and delicious, but also provides communities important environmental and economic benefits. The Wallace Center at Winrock International is collaborating with farmers, wholesalers, distributors and other partners in Maryland to meet the state’s burgeoning demand for local food through food hubs. By delivering collective marketing, packaging, product aggregation and other activities, food hubs improve the financial viability of producers and increase the availability of nutritious food.
Poverty and food insecurity are inextricably linked in Bangladesh. Particularly vulnerable are women, youth and those in areas of the country most likely to be impacted by climate change. The goal of this program is to improve nutrition and food security through training in entrepreneurship, improved production of high-value foods as well as reliable access to markets and important agricultural inputs.
Increasing awareness that local food is nutritious and good for both the environment and the economy has propelled the growth of regional food economies. In order to encourage more investment in regional food systems and sustainable agriculture, it’s important to showcase the benefits to local economies and communities. This program seeks to build awareness by assisting The Wallace Center at Winrock International in expanding the reach of its National Good Food Network by developing a regional food economies working group and fellows program, and by supporting a national communications strategy that underscores the economic benefits of fostering local food systems.
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