$5,000 cash prize for Arkansas Tourism ‘Ark Tank’ competition that is set for Tuesday

Arkansas Tourism in partnership with Innovate Arkansas will present Ark Tank, a business pitch competition to be held live on Tuesday, March 3, at 11:15 a.m. at the Fort Smith Convention Center. The event is a part of the 2020 Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Those unable to attend the event can stream it live on the Arkansas Tourism Industry Facebook page.

In its second year, the Ark Tank competition includes new and existing tourism businesses that have an idea, project or product to develop. Applications were due in early January and the field has been narrowed down to five competitors: The Local Table NWA, Float Eureka, Eksplor Gaming, Dome Life and Dogwood Hills Guest Farm.

The winner will walk away with a cash prize of $5,000, a guarantee for mentorship from professionals in the field related to the winning business idea, and ongoing advisement with Arkansas Tourism Research and Development.

“Innovation and creativity are key to continued success, and this competition allows Arkansas tourism businesses the opportunity to grow and learn as they develop new ideas,” said Kristine Puckett, interim director of Arkansas Tourism. “Ark Tank is a highlight of our annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism and we can’t wait to see the projects that will be presented this year.”

“Last year’s Ark Tank competition introduced the startup spirit to a foundational industry in our state’s economy and we were excited by the energy we saw in the room of tourism professionals,” said David Sanders, director of Innovate Arkansas at Winrock International. “Winrock and Innovate Arkansas’s team is dedicated to helping startup founders grow their businesses in Arkansas. We are excited to partner with Arkansas Tourism again this year to help find and support innovative ideas for tourism-based businesses.”

Startup or existing businesses that are related to tourism in Arkansas were considered for the Ark Tank competition. For purposes of this competition, a tourism-related business is defined as one that directly interacts with tourists, deals with businesses that cater to tourists, encourages tourism in and travel to Arkansas, and/or supports tourism-related activities in Arkansas. Proposed applicant projects must promote tourism or be associated with a tourism or hospitality entity in Arkansas that offers an experience, location, attraction or travel planning assistance to potential visitors from both inside and outside the state.