Accelerate Arkansas Executive Summary page 1 4.6.05
Accelerate Arkansas is a statewide group of volunteers working under the 501C3 of Capital
Resource Corporation, a member of the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group. Accelerate
Arkansas emerged from efforts being made by the Arkansas Department of Economic
Development’s Task Force for the Creation of Knowledge-Based Jobs and leadership of the
Arkansas Venture Forum. Its membership has been expanded to include individuals from across
Accelerate Arkansas’ next initiative is to provide the leadership and the tool for Arkansas’ key
stakeholders to build a statewide strategic economic development plan for how Arkansas can
accelerate it’s competitiveness and preparedness to compete in today’s rapidly changing and highly competitive global economy. The cornerstones of the plan emphasize technology,
knowledge and entrepreneurship.
Increasingly, technology and knowledge will drive the success of Arkansas’ industries. Technology
and knowledge offer Arkansas’ industries and employers an opportunity to create sustainable
High-tech and knowledge-based industries grow faster than most industries in the U.S. These
industries are known for creating new and better jobs – higher wage jobs. The greatest
opportunity for Arkansas to move forward economically lies in our ability to accelerate the
knowledge of our children, the performance / contribution of our knowledge-based institutions and
the creation / growth of knowledge-based jobs. Over 75% of the changes in a state’s per capita income can be tied to this kind of strategic economic development.
It is true that Arkansas’ industries of the future will demand many more scientists and engineers as
we better position ourselves to compete in the new economy. It is also important for our parents
and children to recognize that even for those who do not become scientists and engineers,
tomorrow’s best careers will require much greater understanding and comfort level with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
II. OUR VISION
To enjoy an economy accelerated by knowledge-based institutions, partnerships, industries and
III. OUR MISSION
To foster economic growth in Arkansas by using the essential building blocks of the knowledge-
based economy – knowledge creation through research and development, intellectual property
development, commercialization of new technologies, growth of entrepreneurial knowledge-based
firms, knowledge workforce and evolution of clusters of such firms (i.e., critical mass); to create an
environment supporting entrepreneurship and continuous innovation.
Accelerate Arkansas Executive Summary page 2 4.6.05
IV. OUR GOAL
To increase Arkansas’ per capita income to the U.S. average by 2020. If this were achieved today,
the state of Arkansas would increase its state tax revenues by over $2 billion.
V. OUR VALUES
In everything we do, we will place the state of Arkansas first.
While we must make decisions and recommend strategies that we feel are in the best interest of Arkansas, we will conduct ourselves in a highly collaborate manner and expect this collaboration of others.
We are a non-political organization and will conduct ourselves accordingly.
In September 2004, Accelerate Arkansas released its major study on
Arkansas’ Position in the Knowledge-based Economy. The report, written
in part by the well-known Milken Institute, clearly defines the choices
Arkansas faces in the new economy.
The research report was made possibly from a $205K grant provided by
the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. The Milken Institute and Arkansas’
Center for Business and Economic Research examined the state’s current
economic conditions, assessed the comparative positions of its industry
structure and benchmarked Arkansas’ position in technology and science.
The research report can be accessed at
VII. THE RISK OF INACTION
Projecting an economy based on traditional
economic development activities and business as
usual sees the state’s per capita income declining
as manufacturing and other traditional
employment erodes. In this projection, well-
educated workers leave the state in search of
employment elsewhere, causing a brain drain that
Milken’s Ross DeVol calls a “death spiral.”
The other projection, based on adding increasing
numbers of knowledge-based and high
Accelerate Arkansas Executive Summary page 3 4.6.05
technology jobs, sees per capita income increasing toward the national average. The per capita
income chart illustrates in a powerful fashion two economic futures – two choices for Arkansas.
One can debate these projections but one cannot debate the risk of inaction vs. the opportunity
Time is of the essence. Other states are investing heavily to prepare their economies to compete
in today’s increasingly competitive global marketplace.
VIII. THE STRATEGIC PLAN FRAMEWORK
A strategic plan is only as good as the involvement of key stakeholders.
Accelerate Arkansas seeks to work collaboratively with the following groups:
– The Governor and the Arkansas General Assembly
– State Agencies
The Academic Sector
– K thru 12
– Higher Education
The Private Sector
– Large Corporations and their Leaders
– Entrepreneurs and Knowledge-based / Technology Focused Companies
Parents and Children / Groups that Support Parents and Children – preparing our youth for
better jobs in 2010 and 2015
Foundations and Non-profit organizations
– Arkansas’ elected delegation
– Federal research grant organizations
– Federal facilities / Labs engaged in research and development
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B. ACCELERATE ARKANSAS’ CORE STRATEGIES
1. Support research and development that creates jobs.
2. Develop risk capital available for all stages of the business cycle and especially in the
3. Encourage entrepreneurship and accelerated new enterprise development.
4. Sustain Successful Existing Industry
5. Increase the education of all Arkansans and especially the achievement in science,
technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Among other key strategic planning attributes, the statewide strategic plan is optimally executed by
gaining the involvement of each of the above stakeholder groups working together to arrive at a set
of specific action steps that each stakeholder can embark upon to advance one or more of the five
IX. THE ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT BAR & ACCELERATE ARKANSAS’ 2005
ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT BAR
Please find below the enterprise development bar. It is important because, increasingly, economic
development will come from a growing number of promising new companies starting and
expanding each year. This is sometimes referred to as homegrown economic development.
Intellectual properties, promising business models, entrepreneurs and capital for pre-seed, seed,
start-up and early stage enterprise development will be essential.
It is apparent that in a global marketplace, in order to remain competitive, many of the U.S.’s large
employers, even high-tech and knowledge-based companies, will be required to access the most
efficient and economical labor markets anywhere in the world. This is better than, over time,
loosing the whole company. This is also why it is important for Arkansas to create a climate and
the infrastructure where new companies with promising business models are coming about all of
Strategically positioning Arkansas to create a growing number of high-growth high-wage
companies will be a strong measure of our success. It is the creation of a growth company or the
recruiting of a company to Arkansas that creates new and better jobs which in turn enables our
retail, service and real estate economies to expand.
ACCELERATE ARKANSAS’ INITIAL LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES
Please find a description of Accelerate Arkansas’ 2005 legislative initiatives depicted in the boxes
to follow, and how these initiatives fit along the enterprise development bar.
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Accelerate Arkansas Economic Development Building Blocks and 2005 Legislative Initiatives
#4: Eliminate two-year waiting period for angel investors to receive investor tax credits.
#1: Increase funding for #3: Extend the carry forward seed capital period for research and and research development tax credits under matching. the Consolidated Incentives Act #8: Increase cap on from 3 to 9 years. technology development projects from $50,000 to $100,000. #7: Expand #2: Ease requirements for targeted Technical businesses to qualify for research Careers and development tax credits under Student Loan Forgiveness to the Consolidated Incentives Act. include graduate students.
#5: Expand #6: Make it easier eligibility for bond for companies to guaranty participate in programs to employee Tuition include targeted imbursement Tax businesses under Credit program. the Consolidated Incentives Act.
Pre-Seed Higher Ed M&A/MatuMature Expansion Seed Start-Up re
Accelerate Arkansas Core Strategies
Research Sustain successful existing companies.
System developed by the Task Force for the Creation of Knowledge-based Jobs
Higher Ed [Traditional] Economic Development Accelerate Arkansas Executive Summary page 6 4.6.05
X. THE OPTIMAL COURSE – COMBINING LEADERSHIP WITH RESEARCH
There are many reports and studies that inform us of the best courses of action for many areas of
our society. We are grateful for the brilliance of these researchers and social scientists.
Accelerate Arkansas was given the opportunity to retain some dynamic researchers providing us
with a foundation of information for how to go forward.
We are now challenged with how to get people to come together and take action. Leadership, as
defined by Mr. Jim Myers, is bringing out the best in others.
The challenge comes in how we get various stakeholders in the room with us and with others in an
open, trusting and non-defensive environment so that we, together, can develop a dynamic set of
action steps each best for Arkansas. Negativity, the scarcity mentality and protectionism will
possibly come about as we involve others. Can Accelerate Arkansas offer a positive and trusting
environment where stakeholders can come, think bigger and agree to a dynamic set of action
steps where Arkansas moves boldly forward?
XI. MEMBERS OF ACCELERATE ARKANSAS
Jerry Adams Scott Ferguson Les Lane Acxiom Corporation Radiologist Arkansas Science and Conway, AR West Memphis, AR Technology Authority
Little Rock, AR John Ahlen Watt Gregory, III Arkansas Science and Kutak Rock LLP John Lewis Technology Authority Little Rock, AR Bank of Fayetteville Little Rock, AR Fayetteville, AR
Charles E. Hathaway
University of Arkansas at Uvalde Lindsey Susan Davis Allen
Little Rock Northwest Arkansas Council Arkansas State University
Little Rock, AR Fayetteville, AR Jonesboro, AR
James Hendren Emon Mahony Jeff Collins
Task Force for the Creation Mahony Corporation University of Arkansas
of Knowledge-based Jobs Eldorado, AR Fayetteville, AR
Little Rock, AR
Chris Masingill Jerry Damerow
Carmie Henry Arkansas Economic UAMS Arkansas
Electric Cooperatives of Developers Association BioVentures
Arkansas Pine Bluff, AR Little Rock, AR
Little Rock, AR
Mike Maulden Danny Ferguson
Entergy Southwestern Entergy
Little Rock, AR Forrest City, AR Fayetteville,
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Tim McFarland Sam Walls D. FINANCE / FUND Grayrock Advisory Services Arkansas Capital RAISING COMMITTEE Arkansas Capital Corp. Corporation Group Fayetteville, AR Little Rock, AR John Lewis, Chair
Jeff Collins Alan McVey Doyle Williams Scott Ferguson Arkansas Department of University of Arkansas Les Lane Economic Development Fayetteville, AR Emon Mahony Little Rock, AR
XII. COMMITTEES Elise Mitchell Committee Mitchell Communications Group, Inc. A. EXECUTIVE Stacy Sells Pittman –
Fayetteville, AR COMMITTEE Chair
Elise Mitchell Ted Moskal Jerry Adams John Ahlen Lawrence County Chamber John Ahlen of Commerce James Hendren F. STRATEGIC PLAN Walnut Ridge, AR Uvalde Lindsey COMMITTEE
Tim McFarland, Chair, Tim O’Brien Accelerate Arkansas Mark Saviers, Chair University of Arkansas for Bill Thomas Charles Hathaway Medical Sciences Emon Mahony Little Rock, AR B. GOVERNANCE Ted Moskal
COMMITTEE Henry Torres Stacy Sells Pittman Sam Walls CJRW Watt Gregory, Chair Members of the Little Rock, AR Jerry Damerow Executive Committee
Mark Saviers Alan McVey
Saviers and Company Doyle Williams
Little Rock, AR
Sam M. Sicard COMMITTEE
Fort Smith, AR Danny Ferguson, Chair
Bill Thomas Uvalde Lindsey
Cross County Economic Chris Masingill
Development Corporation Mike Maulden
Rural Sourcing, Inc.
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XIII. OPERATING PLAN
Accelerate Arkansas has acted as a volunteer group with no operating capital thus far. We plan to seek funding for the first stage of operations by submitting a grant to the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (“WRF”). The first draft of this grant will be completed on April 18 at which time Chairman McFarland will ask for the input of the executive committee and submit the final proposal to WRF by April 25. The plan calls for an executive director committing 25% of his / her time to Accelerate Arkansas, a part-time administrative assistant and minimal operating expenses.
Accelerate Arkansas extends its gratitude to its volunteer membership, the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, Arkansas Science and Technology Authority and Arkansas Department of Economic Development for your contributions of the past and hopefully the future. ACCG, ASTA and ADED have been essential to our ability to operate in this early stage of existence. We appreciate the ability to operate within the Capital Resource Corporation in the past and for the next operating period.
XIV. FINANCIAL PLAN
Accelerate Arkansas has prepared a budget of activities for the next six months (copy included in member’s annual meeting binder) which will be expanded upon and become part of the grant to be submitted to WRF. The operating budget is estimated to be in the range of $150k per year before the costs associated with executing the statewide strategic plan. Until the strategic plan sub-committee arrives at the best manner in which Accelerate Arkansas and the defined stakeholders can build a statewide strategic plan, the financial requirements of these activities are unknown. One proposal has been obtained from Battelle Memorial Institute indicating a cost to assist with the statewide strategic plan at a cost of $225K. This draft proposal is included in member’s annual meeting binder.
Accelerate Arkansas Executive Summary page 9 4.6.05
XV. 2005 KEY SUCCESS FACTORS
1. Submit grant proposal to WRF by April 25 and obtain grant approval by June 2005 (WRF
Quarterly Board Meeting date). If not successful, create and implement plan b.
2. By June 30, Strategic Plan Sub-committee arrives at a clear plan for how to optimally execute
statewide strategic plan including how to bring together the very best resources inside and
outside of Arkansas.
3. Arrive at a timely method of both retaining resources to assist with statewide strategic plan and
if required, obtaining timely funding to retain such resources.
4. Obtain the involvement of the best leaders from every stakeholder group to engage in the
statewide strategic plan.
5. Establish optimal timeline to achieve all of the above, create the most dynamic strategic plan
attainable and assure that the strategic plan can be adopted by Arkansas’ public policy
leadership in 2007 General Assembly.
6. Expand membership of Accelerate Arkansas and / or continually recruit the participation of the
best leaders from across Arkansas.
7. Engage with every gubernatorial candidate and work to assure that accelerating economic
development through the knowledge economy is a major part of each candidate’s plan for
Arkansas’ best future.
8. Arrive at best method to recruit / elect the optimal chairman for next phase of Accelerate
Arkansas and retain the best executive director.
9. Continue to improve upon communication – how we communicate a rather complicated subject
in an uncomplicated, dynamic and realistic manner.
10. Continually improve upon data – solid, conservative return-on-investment data – primarily
expressed in terms of return to the state of Arkansas in terms of revenues.
XVI. Example of Portions of the Strategic Planning Exercise –
Advancing each core strategy with action steps by each stakeholder
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