Venture Center Announces Launch of Pre-Flight Course with Nashville Entrepreneur Center Partnership

The Arkansas Venture Center (AVC) announced today it will offer a pre-accelerator course this fall designed to help entrepreneurs and startup companies fast track their ideas to market. Backed by the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC), Pre-Flight is held over a 14-week period and gives participants access to proven startup methodologies alongside an established national mentor network. The course was developed by Michael Burcham, a serial entrepreneur and award winning entrepreneurship professor who founded the EC and serves as President & CEO, and John Murdock, the EC’s Director of Education. The Pre-Flight curriculum was developed by Burcham and Murdock, harnessing more than 25 years of cumulative experience practicing and teaching entrepreneurship, and includes a roadmap development tool for startup planning, 8 hours of live lectures, break-out sessions and course materials covering a textbook of content. Students also engage in intense business planning exercises and have access to a sophisticated interactive learning platform. If they choose, participants can submit business plans for analysis and even ‘dock’ their businesses at the Venture Center’s collaborative work space in downtown Little Rock during the 14-week term.

“Thousands of entrepreneurs in hundreds of classes to date have made Pre-Flight one of the most effective experiential programs of its kind,” said John Murdock. Murdock said since 2008, new hotspots are emerging in places not typically known for startup activity - places like Chattanooga, St. Louis and Des Moines, Iowa.” “With strong regional support from the EC and others, organizations like the AVC can be a catalyst in their area. When it’s healthy, entrepreneurship inside a community creates new jobs and can significantly change the local economy," said Murdock.

According to EC President & CEO Michael Burcham, “We have chosen to extend the inaugural partner license for Pre-Flight to the Arkansas Venture Center because we want to do our part to foster growth in the mid-South within the entrepreneurial sector. Towards this goal, the Pre-Flight licensing agreement is the first initiative in a long-term partnership with the Arkansas Venture Center.”

“We hope to help fill the gap Little Rock currently has in its entrepreneurial ecosystem” says Lee Watson, President of the Arkansas Venture Center. Watson says Pre-Flight has launched about 150 new companies by giving them the resources to help them mature enough so that they are ‘investable’ companies. “Better said, entrepreneurs are well-taken care of in places like Austin, Denver and Dallas but for Little Rock to follow suit and grow its ecosystem, entrepreneurs need a better support.”

Pre-Flight will be held on Monday evenings beginning September 8th and is hosted by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.

To learn more about the curriculum and register, visit


Media Contacts Caroline M. Ford Director of Communications & Development Arkansas Venture Center 501.352.6371 | John Murdock Director of Education Nashville Entrepreneur Center 615.727.8535 |