The Conductor in Conway announced their fall 2019 entrepreneurship programming schedule in central Arkansas on Thursday. 

According to officials, the list includes an “inspirational Game Changers,” series with local influencers, a Startup Stories speaker series with local entrepreneurs and IdeaFame Live, business pitch competitions. 

The Conductor’s Managing Director Jeff Standridge said they are “very enthusiastic” about the line-up of events coming this fall. 

“From established and seasoned leaders to startup entrepreneurs, we’ve got something for everyone,” he said.

The Game Changers 

The Game Changers, formerly known as Startup Grind, series will happen each month in downtown Conway and will feature a conversation with a local influencer — including Joe Whisenhunt, founder of Whisinvest, Conway School District Superintendent Greg Murry, real estate agent and founder of Faulkner County Lifestyle Magazine, Lori Quinn, and 20th Judicial District Prosecutor Carol Crews — the event structured as a chat where the featured guests share business and life advice from their journey followed by a question and answer portion after with the audience. 

The doors for the Game Changers will open for networking at 5 p.m., with the chat starting at 6 p.m.

“We have worked to develop a slate of programming that will inspire current and future leaders,” Grace Rains, Conductor Director of Operations, said. “There is no better way to serve our mission than to provide our community with free, direct access to mentors, influencers, innovators, and entrepreneurs.”

The entire series is free and open to the public, with food and drink provided for all attendees.

Startup Stories

The Startup Stories is a series celebrating the startup community through networking and storytelling, occurs monthly in the UCA Makerspace starting at 11:30 am.

In each talk, a local entrepreneur is featured to present their start-up story, followed by a Q & A session from the audience.

“The presentations give a first-hand account of the successes and challenges faced by Arkansas entrepreneurs and how they found their start,” the event reads.

The series is free and open to the community with lunch provided for all attendees.

The fall Startup Stories speakers will include Angela Mahan with Rabbit Ridge Farms, Maggie Glover with Glover Fitness, Erin Conner with Share the Love and Ryan Ritchie with Rock City Outfitters. 

IdeaFame Live 

In addition to the speaker series, the Conductor will co-host three 60-second pitch competitions called IdeaFame Live.

The first is in partnership with the Cabot Chamber of Commerce, First Electric Cooperative and Cabot Public Schools from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 10 at AllFam Bowling in Cabot.

The second, an event focused on student pitches, is scheduled for October 24 and will be co-hosted with the University of Central Arkansas Alumni Association during UCA Homecoming Week.

The final competition is a minority entrepreneurship night in conjunction with the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at UCA Downtown.

“The pitch competitions will encourage entrepreneurship and innovation by allowing contestants to express their ideas and win real cash prizes,” officials said. 

The competition is open to innovators, entrepreneurs, dreamers, inventors, students and creatives to help “unleash the next big idea.”

Pitches can be anything from an “amazing idea” to a startup business.

All three competitions are open to the community, either to pitch an idea or to be a member of the audience.

To register any of the Conductor’s fall 2019 programming, including Makerspace and community events, visit www.arconductor.org/events-1.

Staff writer Hilary Andrews can be reached at handrews@thecabin.net.