Applications open for the second GORP cohort




Raleigh Woods

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – From product launch to rapid scale, the first four companies in the Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program accelerated their entrepreneurial journey, through in-depth training, team mentorship and community support of GORP.

“Our first cohort was a great example of the kind of support that the Northwest Arkansas community offers its startups,” said Phil Shellhammer, Director of GORP.

“These four companies have come on and off to a flying start, thanks to the incredible support from our mentors, workshop leaders, and the network connections GORP has provided.”

Pedro Somarriba, local purchasing manager and US Army veteran, joined the program with his company Lacaida Ropes, which seeks to improve climbing safety through innovative rope design. He said GORP helped him move from ideation to launch.

“We would be at least three months behind where we are now if we hadn’t participated in this,” Somarriba said.

Applications for their second cohort are open today and will remain open until July 10. The 12-week program will start at the end of August.

A business incubator at the U of A focused on outdoor recreation startups, GORP provides a multi-level engagement platform to grow start-ups from idea to launch, offering workshops , mentorship, advice, shared workspace, network connections and product/service design.

The program also provides up to $15,000 in “non-dilutive seed funding” per business, funding that does not require the owner to give up capital in the business.

The greenhouse is located at the U of A Collaborative, the university’s teaching and research center in Bentonville. GORP is the first of three planned business incubation programs launched by the U of A’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the greenhouse; the Northwest Arkansas BioDesign Sprints program is set to launch this summer, and a soon-to-be-announced digital incubation program is planned for early 2023.

About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and organizes innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students of all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village, and the Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, OEI offers free workshops and programs, including social and business innovation design teams, internships, competitions and start-up coaching. A unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Economic Development Division, OEI also offers on-demand support for students who will be innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs starting something new.

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