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NWA StartUp Cup 2013 to launch soon

By: 17 May 2013 2 Comments

NWA StartUp CupThe Northwest Arkansas StartUp Cup is launching its 2013 competition, organizers announced recently. There will be several changes to the second year of the competition as organizers fine-tune the process.

StartUp Cup started in Tulsa, Okla. In 2007 and in the last two years has licensed other regions across the globe to offer their own StartUp Cup. Northwest Arkansas received the first license and is now part of a global network of StartUp Cup business model competitions.

Tonya Nkokheli, president of Innovative Markets, which holds the NWA StartUp Cup license, is the chief event coordinator. She said there will be several changes to this year’s competition including more mentoring, an enhanced network of resources and most notable for some, the introduction of prize money for the top three winners. The winners of last year’s NWA StartUp Cup won free professional service hours and additional free mentoring.

Nkokheli is embracing the team approach for this year’s competition including seeking interested committee members to fill volunteer roles including project manager, website and social media support and sponsors. Several of last year’s winners have also committed to serve on the committee.

By establishing a stronger list of resources in all industries, the NWA StartUp Cup can help all participants succeed even if a business does not advance into the finals, Nkokheli said.

“Entrepreneurs may not make it through to a final round, but it’s important to have a reference or referral list to continue on,” she said.

The timeline for this year’s NWA StartUp Cup is also slightly accelerated. It begins June 4 with the application process opening. Winners will be announced during the Global Entrepreneurship Week in November.

There will be two information sessions about the NWA StartUp Cup:

  • 6p.m., Tuesday, May 21 at The Iceberg Co-Working Space in Fayetteville
  • 6p.m., Tuesday, June 4 at the University of Arkansas Global Campus in Rogers (tentative)

Interested businesses or potential committee members, coaches or mentors are invited to attend one of the meetings to learn more about NWA StartUp Cup. The meetings are not required to enter the competition, but entrepreneurs will find them useful, Nkohkeli said. The meetings will have essentially the same information. Two are being hosted to give more chances for participation.

More about StartUp Cup

An entrepreneurial idea in its own right, the first StartUp Cup was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2007 and has become a global network of locally-driven business model competitions in more than seven countries. StartUp Cup was co-founded by husband and wife team Kristen Bergman and Sean Griffin. Organizers, judges and competitors agree that the most beneficial aspect of the StartUp Cup is the mentoring. Each competitor is paired with a mentor that helps the business owner modify and further develop the business model between each competition round. This increases the participant’s chances of winning the competition, but also increases their ability to have a successful venture after the competition.

Bergman said the StartUp Cup is different from most business competitions in that it requires entrepreneurs to compete with their business model, not business plan.

“Business plan competitions tend to award a good plan, but there’s no incentive to go out and build the business,” Bergman said. “We’re about job creation and business creation.”

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About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =

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