get your start


Our start up programs provide community, education, connections, and mentorship to empower any entrepreneur to take a leap into the start up journey. At the Venture Center, we believe in equipping entrepreneurs with the tools they need to launch, encourage inclusivity and diversity, and cultivate life-changing connections.


 community programs

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Lift the Rock connects local economic development resources to entrepreneurs, and inspire business professionals by hearing the stories of entrepreneurs and small businesses owners in Arkansas – all over lunch! Whether you are an entrepreneur, business leader, investor, or just an interested community member, come connect and learn from our featured speakers about topics like starting a business, building strategic relationships, scaling your startup, and more.


Our corporate and community instructors are representative of Arkansas’ biggest and brightest companies. Workshop instructors share real-world experience and insight in the VC classroom each month to aid in fostering new talent and resources. Developed by industry experts and tailored to meet the demanding needs of top employers, our workshops position candidates for professional and entrepreneurial success.

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upcoming events 


mentorship program

Whether you’re a talented, proven, seasoned professional who has a passion for guiding local young talent or you’re looking for a coach to navigate your career, our VC mentorship program is for you! The Venture Center is dedicated to helping professionals in all stages of their careers grow. Sometimes this “growth” can mean giving back. Our Mentor program does both by matching professionals who are looking for career coaching with seasoned executives in the Little Rock area. Twenty Protégés and twenty mentors are accepted into the nine-month program that begins each year in March and ends in November.

What to Expect

Applications for Mentors and Protégés are accepted for review starting in early January. All applicants are then accepted into the program based on several factors:

  • Interests – Does the mentor have relevant experience in a variety of disciplines to provide direction on career goals, industry and work focus?

  • Attitude – Does the Protégé have the ambition and drive to fully participate in the program for the entire term, and drive their success through the program offerings?

  • Location – can both applicants meet regularly in-person within the Central Arkansas area?

This is an exclusive program within the Venture Center. Protégés benefit from one-on-one mentoring from directors and executives throughout the term of the program. In addition, there are four main events that help further the group participants in their career developments.

Program Results

Networking – establish a great, relevant base for ongoing networking. The relationships that develop through this program never end. Mentors and Protégés keep in touch for years after the program year is completed.

Learning – Mentors present their personal experience and career observations on topics picked by the Protégés at group events through a panel discussion. These insights into the next stage of your career help you grow while avoiding the pitfalls.

how to apply

We will be accepting applications for the 2019 program from February 2019 - March 8, 2019.