LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday he will devote $500,000 in discretionary funds to a two-year state partnership in a business accelerator program started by Little Rock company FIS.
FIS, a global financial services technology provider, launched the VC FinTech Accelerator program in December. The program is designed to boost the development of start-up businesses focused on financial technology and has been operated in conjunction with The Venture Center of Little Rock, which provides resources, guidance and connections to guide start-ups to viability.
Hutchinson made his announcement Wednesday at Global Investor Demo Day at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. Of the more than 150 companies from across the globe that applied for the program, 10, including two international companies, made presentations at the event.
“We are optimistic that we’ll be able to attract one or two of those companies to Arkansas, which means more employees,” Hutchinson told reporters after his announcement. “What this means is that we’re bringing the best talent from around the globe, really, right here to Arkansas to help us to make the case that we ought to be the technology hub for our region.”
Hutchinson said the state will help continue and expand the program through 2018.
“I will also go to the Legislature for at least a $2 million budget amount for additional accelerators, all of which will have the criteria of partnership with industry in different sectors, and we’ll also define what return we expect and the criteria for those accelerators,” he said.
“I think we’ve proven through our first accelerator that we were successful,” said FIS President and CEO Gary Norcross. “We think the future accelerators are going to be equally successful and help drive Arkansas’ agenda for job growth.”