Entrepreneurs invited to ‘Ask the Tech Experts’

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will host a half-day event featuring one-on-one meetings between entrepreneurs and technology entrepreneurship experts in “Ask the Tech Experts” from 8 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, March 8. 

“This is a rare opportunity to engage reputable individuals who possess strong expertise in areas key to successful technology business development,” said Rebecca Norman, an innovation consultant at the center. “Several of these tech experts generally charge a fee for their consulting services but will be providing feedback for attendees free of charge at this event.”

The Small Business and Technology Development Center is a university-based economic development program that assists entrepreneurs with business creation, management, and operation. The March 8 event is geared toward entrepreneurs and university researchers who have technology-based products and services at various stages of development and would benefit from business development assistance.

“Many innovative businesses want to learn how they can secure funding to support development of their new research and development ideas,” Norman said. “I also receive regular requests for assistance helping entrepreneurs locate potential project partners and customers. Additionally, a large number of my clients seek market research information that quantifies the need for their product or service on a national and global scale.”

Market research is one of the center’s most widely used services, especially in the growing area of technology commercialization. The research provides technology entrepreneurs with details regarding the competitive landscape and trends within the customer market.

This information is essential in developing a business plan or an application for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which provides federal funds for innovation and technology research to small businesses.  

Participants are encouraged to come to the workshop with a list of prepared questions to better maximize their one-on-one meetings with the experts.

The technology entrepreneur experts include:

  • Ron Foster, business development manager at VIC Technology Venture Development. Primary areas of expertise include business development and research and development commercialization. 
  •  Dr. Steve Stanley, senior manager of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission Division of Science and Technology. Primary areas of expertise include state funding programs for research-based companies and business development. 
  •  Sharon Ballard, chief operating officer and president of EnableVentures, Inc. Primary areas of expertise include small business innovation research, small business technology transfer, and entrepreneurship. 
  •  Brian Rogers, deputy director of the Office of Skills Development at the Arkansas Department of Career Education. Primary areas of expertise include intellectual property, technology transfer, and commercialization. 
  •  John Riggins, founder and president of The Riggins Group and entrepreneur in residence at Arkansas Tech University. Primary areas of expertise include marketing strategies and entrepreneurship. 
  •  Jeff and Brent Amerine, leaders of Startup Junkie Consulting. Primary areas of expertise include entrepreneurship, business development, and project management. 
  •  Dr. Lenka Fedorkova, chief operating officer of bioPRIME, LLC. Primary areas of expertise include the National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program and life science technology commercialization.

To watch interviews with the experts and to register online, visit http://asbtdc.org/ask-the-tech-experts. For more information, contact Norman at rxnorman@ualr.edu or 501.683.7700.

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