The Venture Center hosts “Pitch ‘N Punch” competition for young innovators in Northwest and Central Arkansas

Posted on April 3, 2024
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 2, 2023) – Entrepreneurship knows no age, which is why The Venture Center is partnering with Economics Arkansas and Young Entrepreneur Institute to host the first-ever Northwest Arkansas Pitch ‘N Punch competition on May 23 at Scott Family Amazeum and the second annual Central Arkansas Pitch ‘N Punch competition on June 27 at Museum of Discovery. An innovative competition with a fun atmosphere, incoming 5th-8th grade students are invited to participate and learn about entrepreneurship and the fundamentals of pitching. 

Pitch ‘N Punch embodies the same enterprising spirit as The Venture Center’s adult pitching competition, Pitch ‘N Pint, providing an opportunity for Arkansas youth to express creativity and innovation. Students are encouraged to present ideas addressing a problem or need in the community for a chance to win up to $1500 in cash prizes.

Ashley Jones, Director of Operations at The Venture Center, emphasized the importance of nurturing young talent: “Entrepreneurship doesn’t have an age limit. We don’t have to wait until we’re all grown up to start making things happen. When we believe in our students and support our young visionaries, we’re really building a brighter future for Arkansas.” Her words underline The Venture Center’s commitment to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.

Collaboration between The Venture Center, Economics Arkansas, and Young Entrepreneur Institute, along with support from Scott Family Amazeum, Museum of Discovery and the Innovation Hub, allows for the exciting prospect of supporting Arkansas students from a young age. Students will be chosen to pitch ideas that positively impact our social environment to a local panel of judges. Prior to the competition, all participants will attend one virtual and one in-person pitch preparation workshop facilitated by event organizers. 

“Fostering entrepreneurship among students is a crucial part of economic education,” shares Kathleen Lawson, executive director of Economics Arkansas. “When we give students entrepreneurial knowledge and mindset, we’re empowering them to be problem-solvers, leaders, and creators who can shape their own futures and boost their communities’ prosperity. Teaming up with The Venture Center and Young Entrepreneur Institute highlights our dedication, and we’re excited to see the innovative ideas students will bring to Pitch ‘N Punch.”

Marion Dunagan, Program Director at the Young Entrepreneur Institute, echoes Lawson’s feelings on entrepreneurship among students: “Pitch ‘N Punch provides a unique opportunity for young innovators to showcase their entrepreneurial spirit. It’s not just about encouraging creativity, but also about teaching students the value of perseverance, strategic thinking, and effective communication. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Economics Arkansas and The Venture Center to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Pitch ‘N Punch applications are due by April 10 for Northwest Arkansas and May 15 for Central Arkansas. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by May 1 (NWA) or June 5 (CA). There is no cost to participate, and family and friends are welcome to attend the event for free. To submit an application or learn more about Pitch ‘N Punch and The Venture Center, please visit  


About The Venture Center

The Venture Center is a globally recognized Arkansas-based Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ESO) that helps entrepreneurs turn their start-ups into viable, high-growth businesses. By leveraging the expertise of a world-class team of mentors, intensive programming, and introductions to the investor community, The Venture Center serves as an engine for economic growth in Arkansas and beyond.  Learn more at Follow The Venture Center on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and X.

About Economics Arkansas

Economics Arkansas is a state-wide organization aiming to enrich the lives of students by incorporating personal finance and economic principles into classroom curriculum. Through various partnerships and affiliated councils, Economics Arkansas provides training, materials, and curriculums for PreK-12th grade teachers, meeting the needs of public and independent schools. Visit to learn more. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, X, and Instagram, or by calling (501) 682-4230. 

About Young Entrepreneur Institute

Young Entrepreneur Institute at University School advocates for universal entrepreneurship education, believing that every child should grasp its principles early on. Through tangible experiences, children learn vital skills such as perseverance, self-confidence, and problem-solving, setting them up for success in any endeavor. By fostering collaboration within the entrepreneurship ecosystem, we empower educators to integrate entrepreneurial education effectively. Together, we aim to instill these invaluable lessons in as many students as possible. Visit to learn more. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and X, or by calling (216) 831-2200.