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Boosting Startups and Rural Economy with GORP's Expansion

The University of Arkansas' GORP is expanding across the state with a federal grant to boost economic development and support startups, especially in rural areas

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The University of Arkansas Fayetteville's Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP) is set to expand statewide, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration. This program, which has already seen significant success in nurturing startups, focuses on leveraging outdoor assets to spur economic development, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

  • Statewide Expansion: The GORP, initially launched in Northwest Arkansas, is expanding across the state, targeting regions like Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Petit Jean State Park, and others, to foster an outdoor recreation economy.
  • Support for Startups: The program offers startups workshop training, team mentoring, and dedicated product/service development assistance, along with up to $15,000 in non-dilutive seed funding per company.
  • Focus on Rural and Underserved Areas: The expansion aims to leverage outdoor assets in rural and underserved areas, promoting economic development and supporting small, scalable businesses.
  • Comprehensive Entrepreneurial Support: In addition to business development workshops and mentoring, the program will include entrepreneurial law sessions from the UAFayetteville School of Law, assisting founders with business formation and operations.
  • Economic Impact and Future Goals: The program not only aids in business incubation but also aims to transition into an acceleration stage, contributing to job creation, private investment, and boosting the state's economy.

The GORP's expansion, supported by the federal grant, represents a significant step in fostering entrepreneurship and economic growth in Arkansas. By focusing on outdoor recreation and providing comprehensive support to startups, the program is set to make a substantial impact on the state's economy, particularly in rural and underserved areas. This initiative showcases the potential of targeted entrepreneurial programs to drive regional development and innovation.

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