by David Ramsey
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the first phase of a high tech accelerator initiative for the State of Arkansas. FIS, a global leader in financial services technology and a Fortune 500 company, will partner with the State to extend the VC FinTech Accelerator program through 2018.
The VC FinTech Accelerator is designed to boost the speed and development of startups focused on financial technology. The FinTech Accelerator was operated in conjunction with The Venture Center, based in Little Rock. The Venture Center provides resources, guidance, and critical connections to guide startups to viability.
The announcement was made at the VC FinTech Accelerator’s Global Investor Demo Day at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. The partnership will see the State of Arkansas and FIS each cover a portion of the funding for program costs over the next two years.
Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:
“I am thrilled that we were able to partner with FIS to keep Arkansas’s FinTech Accelerator going until 2018. This program has brought some of the world’s most exciting financial services startups and promising tech talent to Arkansas and we are excited to see that relationship continue. It is great to see companies like FIS investing in innovation in Arkansas and we are excited to partner with them to increase the tech footprint in our state.”
“Arkansas is developing a national reputation for technology both as a result of the major technology companies in Arkansas and because of Arkansas leading the nation in computer science education. Our new high tech accelerator initiative is an innovative way for the state to attract new technology companies and to support our existing industry. I was elated to hear that several of the startups that participated in the program are interested in exploring Arkansas as a home for their operations. We are optimistic that some of the startups will take advantage of the tremendous benefits of locating their companies in this state.”
FIS President and CEO Gary Norcross issued the following statement:
“FIS support of and participation in the VC FinTech Accelerator is part of our broader innovation strategy. This isn’t just about turning startups into strong investment opportunities, it’s about reinventing the financial industry by identifying and fast-tracking the best ideas.”
“The Accelerator and the fostering of innovation fits squarely with our strategy to deliver results that empower the financial world. It is at the heart of everything we do.”
This initial phase of the High Tech Accelerator Initiative will be followed by a more comprehensive accelerator plan to be presented to the General Assembly in January. The future plan will include program requirements to measure the job creation and technology benefits to the state.