Committed to creating a community of engaged global talent, NWA is making strides not only to become a significant player in the innovation economy, but also to win recognition as a vibrant, inclusive destination for the world’s best and brightest.

In the middle of the American Heartland and headquarters to several Fortune 500 companies, Northwest Arkansas has enjoyed national attention from as an unexpected hub for tech startups, from DataFox as one of the best places to found a startup outside of Silicon Valley and from as a top place for minority-owned businesses.

NWA Tech Council is a group that meets monthly about shaping the ever-changing technology regional and global landscapes. Anchored by enterprises like Intel, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Oracle and Walmart, the annual NWA Tech Summit attracts 3,500 attendees, includes a Startup Alley and delivers discussion about innovation at the intersection of business and technology, women in technology and medtech.

Built for developers and engineers, Nowhere Developers Conference is an annual pure-tech conference and event series focused on the latest in software engineering, machine learning, blockchain, distributed systems and development. NWA TechFest is a for-geeks-by-geeks tech conference held each Spring in Fayetteville.

At the University of Arkansas, the Technology Development Foundation and Arkansas Research & Technology Park, Global Campus IT Readiness Program, Blockchain Hackathon, Blockchain Center of Excellence, McMillon Innovation Studio, Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, J.B. Hunt Innovation Center of Excellence, Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Office of Economic Development and Science Venture Primer Partnership spur tech-related economic impact.

Northwest Technical Institute and Northwest Arkansas Community College, home to Shewmaker Center for Workforce Technologies, provide extensive certificate and degree programs to develop homegrown technical talent. John Brown University is a liberal arts college with diverse degree offerings, from engineering and  entrepreneurship to leadership and international business.

With all of NWA’s public school districts claiming coveted spots in Niche’s Best School Districts Rankings, STEAM students of every age across the region also may benefit from such resources and opportunities as The Scott Family Amazeum, Bentonville Ignite Program, Nerdies, The Station, Rogers Experimental House, NWA FabLab, AR Girls Code (NWA’s Chapter of 100 Girls of Code), New Design School, Don Tyson School of Innovation, Thaden School, Haas Hall Academy and The New School.

Key entrepreneurial support organizations are the area’s Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Development Center, Innovate Arkansas, Startup Junkie, Endeavor and Grit Studios. Abundant acceleration services, including consulting, programming, events, coworking, training, mentorship and investor relations, are available for entrepreneurs innovating in the areas of data analytics, global supply chain, omnichannel retail, ecommerce, food, consumer technologies and life sciences.