Women’s Entrepreneurship Program Chooses Inaugural Class For Mentorship and Business Support

Posted on November 9, 2021
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For Immediate Release
Contact: Becky Pittman

Women’s Entrepreneurship Program Chooses Inaugural Class For Mentorship and Business Support

Selected Mentors and Mentees to Start VCWoman Achieve, The Venture Center’s New Mentorship Program Backed By Statewide Support

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. November 9, 2021 –  The Venture Center today announced 40 members of its inaugural VCWoman Achieve mentorship program. VCWoman Achieve is a statewide mentorship program bringing Arkansas’s women entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop life-changing relationships to drive professional growth. 

A coalition of government agencies, private businesses and nonprofits came to provide the program’s foundation, bringing unprecedented experience, tools, and access to resources. Program partners are the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Wright Lindsey Jennings, Venture Noire, Arkansas Capital Corp, Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, THV11, and Soiree Women’s Leadership Symposium. 

Mimi San Pedro, Chief Strategy Officer of The Venture Center said, “All of these incredible organizations came together with the desire to make a bigger impact for the women entrepreneurs of Arkansas. Now is the time to champion these women who are blazing a trail for the next generation. We are grateful for the partnerships and program participants that will lift women, entrepreneurship, and the entire state.”

Over 120 applicants from across the state applied to participate in the program. The 40 selected participants are:


  • Srividya Venkatasubramanya
  • Christina Ortiz
  • Tamara Williams
  • Chung Tan
  • Zoraida Aguilar
  • Ayla Parvu
  • Lenita Mays
  • Errin Stanger
  • Lisa Hemme
  • Joy Springer
  • Kendra Pruitt
  • Jean Block
  • Tracy Ring
  • Itzel Meador
  • Lisa Ferrell
  • Keneasha Scott
  • Marta Collier-Youngblood
  • Brooke Vines
  • Latanyua Robinson
  • Caroline Devoy


  • Sheri Hawn
  • Beth Pittman
  • Toshia Hogan
  • Cat Hutchings
  • Victoria McDaniels
  • Yuri Richardson
  • Sarah Stricklin
  • Sarita Robinson
  • Alicia Adams-Talbert
  • Chris Peralta
  • Wendy Bryant
  • Ar’Jillian Gilmer
  • Clarissa Pace
  • Kathleen Lawson
  • Jessica Hester
  • Jeanette Plazola
  • Mary Beth Boyle
  • Wendy Cathey
  • LaTeasha Gaither-Davis
  • Shalauna Rack

Mentees will compete for up to $10,000, earning scores based on the quality of engagement and effort throughout the year-long program. In December 2022, mentees will graduate from the program with new skills and networks to keep successfully managing and growing their businesses.A “match” day is scheduled for early December, and will connect mentors with their mentees. Beginning January 4, 2022, matched mentors and mentees will set goals and perform assessments monthly, and meet quarterly with subject matter experts equipped to address a range of business challenges and opportunities. 

Learn more about VCWoman Achieve at www.venturecenter.co/vcwomanachieve.

About The Venture Center
The Venture Center’s immersive accelerator programs are designed to accelerate the growth of early-to-growth-stage companies and help validate their solutions for real-world problems. Our methodology provides a unique opportunity for early-to-growth stage fintech companies to connect with financial institution executives, receive investment, and learn from a comprehensive curriculum aiding in strategically addressing go-to-market, business, and finance challenges. Learn more at www.venturecenter.co. Follow The Venture Center on Facebook,LinkedIn,Twitter(@VentureCenter), and Instagram.

About AEDC
The mission of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission is to create economic opportunity by attracting higher-paying jobs, expanding and diversifying our state and local economies, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout Arkansas.

About Venture Noire
Venture Noire is a 510c3 accredited non-profit diversity, equity and inclusion partner. Venture Noire was formed to build confidence and profitability in underrepresented founders and entrepreneurs of color through curriculum, community and access to capital. Through its programming, Venture Noire is on a mission to accelerate communities of color by catalyzing the success of minority-owned businesses in the digital economy. Venture Noire’s ecosystem includes dozens of minority-owned start-ups that are on the cutting edge of technology, innovation and creativity.

About Wright Lindsey Jennings
Founded in 1900, Wright Lindsey Jennings is one of the premier law firms in the state. In 2019, the firm launched Woman-Run, a statewide initiative to connect current and aspiring woman business leaders and owners through networking, mentorship, education and resources. The firm received the 2020 Olivia Farrell Gender Equity Leadership Award and, in 2019, the Arkansas Community Foundation honored Wright Lindsey Jennings with a Smart Corporate Giving Award. WLJ has been recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” in Arkansas since 2018. Today, the firm has 67 attorneys practicing in Little Rock and Rogers. Visit www.WLJ.com to learn more.

About Arkansas Capital
Arkansas Capital is a private, nonprofit lending corporation dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs in Arkansas. Arkansas Capital offers flexible capital solutions to meet the unique needs of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and economic and community development projects throughout Arkansas and surrounding states, with emphasis on low-income and rural communities. Working in partnership with commercial banks, government agencies, and others at the local, state, regional, and national levels, Arkansas Capital has deployed more than $2 billion in capital financing.