In just two years, Heartland Forward and many fantastic local sponsors have powered over 500 Builders through Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator. This entirely new on-ramp to entrepreneurship allows ideas at the earliest stages to get off the ground and into action. Below you can hear from a select group of the Builders themselves on what they’re building and how their work is driving economic change in the Heartland.
Each Builder has received $5,000 through our innovative Pebble Fund. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to help a Builder continue building and growing their venture, please click below to let us know.
The FreeArm revolutionizes healthcare by offering a standardized solution for securing tube feeds.Nurses have been resorting to makeshift solutions involving tape, rubber bands, and ribbon to secure tube feeds, leading to inconsistent feed rates, increased feeding intolerance and extended hospital staysThe FreeArm with a clamp attachment ensures hands-free, consistent tube feeding for all ages, promoting optimum nutrition and quality of life. The new FreeArm with a peg attachment enhances neonatal care, holding gravity syringe feeds securely within incubators.
Imagine a world where school shootings are prevented before they can happen. That's the vision behind NovAI, a technology solution that uses drones, monitoring, AI, and a mobile app to detect threats.This drone will fly over school grounds, providing real-time video footage to the security team. Our AI technology will be able to detect potential threats, such as people carrying weapons or people acting suspiciously. And our mobile app will alert the security team of any potential threats, so they can respond effectively.My solution is unique in that it integrates multiple technologies to provide a comprehensive solution to the problem of school shootings.
Established in 2018, SecondKeys, with its AI tool Mia, has transformed property management. Leveraging our vast data, we're now targeting the financial market, focusing on CapEx reports, appraisals, and property assessments. Amidst the push to eliminate appraisal bias, SecondKeys stands poised for significant impact. Our approach prioritizes accurate real estate data, aligning with modern banking needs and addressing outdated system gaps.
Elysia Contreras Springer
At Gnargo Bike Co, we believe in ground-up innovation that powers the circular economy without the weight of traditional systems. We repurpose classic steel bike frames into electric-assisted cargo bikes, offering exceptional quality at an accessible cost. Each cargo bike we manufacture funds two bike donations from local community bike shops, empowering those in need. Gnargo drives urban transportation revolution while building stronger communities, one ride at a time.
Launch Ahead is more than just an app - it's a lifeline dedicated to supporting transition age youth (TAY) in foster care on their journey towards independence. Our personalized roadmaps are crafted specifically with the unique challenges and aspirations of TAY in mind. We provide the tools they need to define, chase, and achieve their dreams. Our platform promotes focused, goal-oriented engagement, and we incentivize every step forward towards their ultimate objectives. With Launch Ahead, we're committed to transforming the narrative for young people in foster care turning challenges into stepping stones for success.
We aid teachers in transitioning to new careers, addressing the Heartland's dual challenge: the skills gap facing employers and the opportunity gap for job seekers. We believe teachers possess the transferrable skills that many industries crave. By eliminating the friction of career pivoting, our platform streamlines the connection between teachers wanting change and employers desperate for their unique skill sets. With advanced tools like labor market intelligence and AI, we ensure precision in matching teachers' abilities to in-demand roles.
Tariqua "tai" Nehisi
Organizely is an innovative digital marketplace powered by A.I., dedicated to sourcing, compiling, and suggesting templates, tutorials, tips, and more, submitted by users. Our vision is to create a central hub for digital downloads that support the future of work and learning, both now and in the future. We put community, digital accessibility, and neurodiversity first, ensuring that our custom-built toolkits can aid the global workforce
NeuroHype is a dedicated platform for neurodivergent entrepreneurs, particularly those with ADHD. It addresses their unique challenges by providing tailored resources, tools, and community engagement. The platform features specialized workshops, actionable e-books, and more, turning the innovative ideas of neurodivergent minds into entrepreneurial actions. By joining, members adopt the title "Neuro·divergen·aires," entering a community that's reshaping the entrepreneurial scene, championing diversity, and transforming distinctive perspectives into successful ventures.
Portico has been founded as an affordable solution to shepherd families through the college planning process with the intent of helping students to discover and realize the best environment to continue their education.Our library of learning modules consisting of videos, info-bytes, and interactive tools emulates the support of an Independent Educational Consultant at a fraction of the price. With six categories of learning modules, Portico seeks to assist students and their parents from the onset of the college planning process through decision day.
Envision a venture tailored for low-income individuals, singles, and seniors, championing affordable housing using monolithic dome homes as rentals. These eco-friendly, low-maintenance homes sidestep wood, standing strong against tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes with FEMA's nod. Their wind-resistant design negates roof damage risks. Catering to various needs, the venture offers short-term and long-term rentals, encompassing all utilities, and high energy efficiency. The secret sauce for their affordability? It's the homes' enduring nature and minimal upkeep. This innovative approach combines sustainability, safety, and savings, redefining affordable housing.
Morii believes that it shouldn’t be expensive to be comfortable outdoors. Morii specializes in creating accessible, flat-packing, and multi-functional outdoor gear. Our main products include "The HatchPack," a universal sleeping platform that converts SUVs into a safe, comfortable campervan and the "Cornhole Camp Chair," a camping chair that doubles as a cornhole set for camping, tailgating, or the backyard. Morii's mission is to bridge the gap between outdoor comfort and affordability. Currently, Morii has more products in the pipeline, promising an expanded range of stylish and affordable camping gear in the near future.
At Asibara Forest we thrive to bridge the nature equity gap by cultivating urban food forests, serving as open-air classrooms and communal greenspaces in the heart of marginalized communities. By fostering connections with youth and nature, we pave the way for promoting land stewardship and increasing representation in conservation efforts. Our comprehensive approach champions environmental preservation, fosters employment opportunities and improves mental/physical well-being while empowering communities with essential knowledge and resources for sustainable living.
Verified News Network (VNN) is a social news media company that strives to improve news and mass media ecosystems, particularly for underserved communities. We produce and share news and information that benefits and accurately reflects the people we primarily serve (racial minorities, women, and others who have experienced adversity) in addition to other media services. Our news is mainly disseminated through the VNN app, a social media platform designed exclusively for verified news, which was developed to combat misinformation and disinformation online.
We are the creators of Assicle - a patent-pending, reusable cold/warm compress anatomically designed for the female body to provide relief from tearing, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and other ailments resulting from childbirth. Designed by women, including a double-board certified OBGYN, Assicle is made of soft, flexible, silicone and can be frozen or heated depending on mom’s healing needs. The Assicle is easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to talk about, making it a sustainable product that mamas can finally feel good using. It is the first product in a line of sustainable women's health and wellness-focused products.
Film Delta is a job-training program in the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta centered on growing a film industry in this region. Our mission is to reverse the cycle of disinvestment in the Delta through the economics of film production and the power of good storytelling. We seek to blaze career opportunities, boost local economies, and enrich the world with incredible stories from the Delta.
At Etch, we believe that education is the cornerstone of upward economic mobility, yet access to education leading to high earning careers can be inaccessible for those with limited resources, reinforcing generational cycles of economic stagnation. To solve this problem, we are building a learning retention tool that democratizes access to learning pathways that lead to high-earning professions. Through personalized learning algorithms, Etch allows learners to spend less time on content they’ve mastered, and more time on material that needs review. This is the best way for learners to develop complex skill sets as they prepare for cycle-breaking careers.
HIYA Cleaners is a platform that brings the convenience and efficiency of ride-sharing apps to the world of housecleaning. Some call us the Uber for housecleaning as we make it seamless for Airbnb hosts, property managers and realtors to directly book professional cleaners whenever help is needed in a hurry. Property Partners may elect instant bookings or schedule ahead within a few swipes/clicks inside our app.
Drizzle Hear and Deaf's venture promises a substantial economic impact, amplifying the voices and visibility of the deaf community. By acting as a bridge between the hearing and deaf worlds, the clinic will serve as an empowering and uplifting force for individuals in the deaf community. The brand's emphasis on fostering pride and providing essential resources will create a dedicated deaf-centric space, thoughtfully designed with the needs of the deaf in mind. The clinic's cutting-edge facilities will ensure top-notch services tailored to the unique requirements of its clientele.
1 Girl Revolution is an Emmy-nominated nonprofit multimedia organization dedicated to highlighting the voices and stories of world-changing women and girls.
Indulge Virtual Kitchen is a concept setup to help aspiring and establishedfood entrepreneurs who struggle to find affordable and efficient ways to start and grow their businesses. Our concept takes on these challenges, and to build a state of the art, shared kitchen infrastructure designed to lower entry barriers, reduce costs, and streamline operations for aspiring food entrepreneurs. Our mission is to transform the way food entrepreneurs, particularly ghost kitchen operators and people who are focused on creating food brands navigate the culinary industry.
The Barter Shop is a platform that empowers small businesses and individuals to thrive in times of need. It allows users to exchange services without the need for money, creating a micro-economy that is community-focused and inclusive. By connecting small business owners and individuals to the skills and services they need, we are unlocking the potential of our communities and creating a more prosperous future.
Rooted in the formation of the Springdale, Arkansas downtown dining district, CupStakrs is the creation of Rick Barry and Jeffro Brown. By using tubes to allow compostable or recyclable cups to stack, CupStakrs makes the most of every square inch of space needed to dispose of cups, while also ensuring that they are diverted from the landfill. To date, thousands of pounds of compostable cups have been diverted from the landfill in NWA, alone.
A social sports matchmaking platform designed to connect everyday athletes of all skill levels and interests. We match athletes in more than 35+ different sports and activities based on parameters such as interests, skill level, location, frequency of participation and more. Our goal is to make it easy for athletes to connect, chat, and play together effortlessly.
EmployWell is revolutionizing nurse retention in fertility care. We’re on a mission to combat the $40B/year healthcare burnout and turnover crisis. Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system, yet they’re quitting due to the administrative and emotional burdens of care. Fertility is feeling the pinch of nurse churn as service demand goes up and nurse supply is down. EmployWell helps fertility providers recognize, reward, and retain nurses authentically. Our B2B SaaS solution, Provider Ally, quantifies work burdens with nurses and generates collaborative models to solve them. We save providers money and create a more efficient experience for everyone.
CelluDot addresses the growing problem of agrochemical drift with a plant-based and all-in-one adjuvant (i.e., BioGrip) that provides multiple benefits, including those of a petroleum-free surfactant, drift reducing agent and volatility reducing agent. BioGrip keeps volatile herbicides at the site of their intended use, enabling U.S. soybean, cotton, and corn farmers to effectively getting rid of weeds on their farms without worrying about the financial and legal implications of herbicides drifting off to neighboring fields.
My venture develops methods to improve experiences and outcomes in the medical field for patients and physicians alike. Our first initiative is a trauma-informed program focused on physician-patient trust, facilitated by a personalized teddy bear that matches patients’ diagnoses.
We’re creating patient-specific biologics with the goal to cure cancer, autoimmune diseases, and allergies. To do this, we’re using a combination of deep generative models and a novel method of single-cell sequencing. Our core business is SaaS model where patient genomic/transcriptomic data is uploaded and a patient-specific treatment plan is generated with the sequences for multiple novel biologics. The sequences are provided to a third party that will produce the patient-specific biologics and ship them back to a healthcare provider.
We are a 3D design, consultation, and printing service catering to aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. Our venture aims to address some of the inefficiencies in product development and manufacturing by providing a local service capable of tackling a diverse array of products and business needs for low-cost, small batch manufacturing of parts. The expertise and experience in 3D printing that we provide positions us uniquely to take on these challenges and provide insightful feedback on production and process developments.
Therapy On Demand is an app that offers self paced digital therapeutic plans to address a full range of mental health challenges including challenges including: depression, anxiety, ADHD, SAD, anger management, and even some Enneagram Coaching tools. Traditional mental health therapy can be expensive and time restrictive, and because of cost and time, people more often then not opt out of traditional therapy. Therapy On Demand has been created to bridge this gap by offering therapeutic plans at affordable prices.
Our mission is to enhance the restaurant industry by providing high-quality inventory information. We're addressing the issue of limited access to immediate inventory data, which can lead to problems like food waste and various indirect costs, such as time spent shopping, food safety concerns, task delays, and contract negotiation challenges.Our solution is straightforward: we're introducing barcodes on product labels. In today's digital age, it's essential for restaurants to adopt these technologies for improved profitability and operational efficiency. At Weigh Smart, we're developing restaurant tailored barcode generators and inventory management software.
Our program revolutionizes education by empowering teachers and students to embrace emotions. We envision a future where emotions become stepping stones, not roadblocks. Join us on this transformative journey to rewrite the rules of emotional intelligence and achieve personal success through mastering emotions
ACELHerSoul's initiatives address critical concerns. Prioritizing Trauma-Informed Care, survivors of sexual trauma and domestic violence receive mentorship, fostering emotional recovery. The dump truck training program boosts practical skills and self-confidence, enhancing employability. Collaborations with construction firms ensure job placements, reducing recidivism and stabilizing lives. Social advocacy challenges stereotypes, fostering inclusivity. A nurturing community provides vital support, ensuring long-term success for all participants. ACELHerSoul's approach promises survivors a brighter, more secure future.
Harnessing the power of innovation, our mission is two-fold: tackle food inequality and boost farmers' businesses. Through an AI-powered app, we empower farmers to cultivate a personalized regional food kit marketing venture. This not only opens new revenue streams, including SNAP benefits, but also addresses food insecurity by offering tailor-made, value-added products to those in need. Together, we're using cutting-edge technology to sow the seeds of change for a more equitable and sustainable future.
The Sports Village App has been designed to revolutionize the youth sports industry and ease pain points for parents, coaches and athletes, and here is how:•Easy fast enrollment, consolidating activities & streamlining multiple calendars, increasing efficiency and saving time•Uniting communities with auto translation, creating a truly inclusive network.•Empowering coaches with the resources for top-tier training•Expert content to sharpen your mental game, improve fitness & building life-long skills•A vision to expand into music, art, tutoring & summer camps with a global allianceBuilding Sports Village is a groundbreaking endeavor so join us on this journey
GreenBeings Recycling LLC. provides recycling services for industrial and commercial buildings. There are three phases to the business model. Phase I collect recyclables, Phase II partner with a local MRF and Phase III manufacture sustainable building materials made from the collected recyclables. The three phases of the business model enables GreenBeings Recycling to reduce plastic pollution, conserve natural resources and it gives our customers the opportunity to be part of a process they believe in.
Miseria offers a compassionate non-medical end-of-life care program, with integrated grief support, tailored for retirement homes and organizations. This specialized service aims to enhance the quality of life for residents facing end-of-life challenges, ensuring they receive personalized care and emotional support. Additionally, my program extends its services to organizations, providing crucial assistance to grieving employees, thereby fostering a compassionate and understanding workplace environment. Through a dedicated approach, Miseria strives to bring comfort, dignity, and solace to those navigating the complexities of end-of-life experiences.
Heiss Mug is an innovative, self-brewing coffee thermos that heats water and filters coffee all in the same mug, powered by a removable USB-chargeable battery pack. It is fully equipped to keep you caffeinated on-the-go with the touch of a button.
Profit From Clutter empowers you to profit from your unused items by renting them out. We're launching a website where you can list items for rent, with rental durations ranging from 1 to 7 days. The item owner collects the profits, and we provide convenient services, including pickup, delivery, and packaging.
WhiteSquare is a Web3-enabled platform that serves as a vital connection between artists, curators, institutions, and enthusiasts. We're not just reducing barriers; we're erasing them, establishing a unified standard that extends from the blank canvas to the gallery wall.
DO GOOD Finance is the innovative and compassionate way to service medical debt. Instead of using predatory methods to profit off of consumers who has incurred medical debt. We work with community to purchase medical debt directly from the provider and then we wipe off that debt with the credit bureau. As a result of improved credit scores, consumers will have access to better housing and banking options and improve their buying power.
FLEX is a groundbreaking program designed to empower individuals with autism, ADHD, anxiety, and eating disorders by providing a comprehensive toolkit, including weekly classes, workbooks, engaging activities, group and individual coaching, and a library of resources and tools for regulating emotions, managing energy, and fostering meaningful relationships. With FLEX, participants embark on a transformative journey to unmask, embrace their unique nervous system needs, and connect with a supportive community of like-minded individuals.
B-royl, Best Ride of Your Life ™, a Northwest Arkansas company, has designed a patent pending cycling chamois that prevents skin irritation, chafing and discomfort while enhancing performance allowing cyclists to comfortably ride longer.B-royl’s chamois design revolutionizes the shape of the cycling chamois. No other chamois is shaped like it. B-royl™ is collaborating to leverage the strengths of our cycling short partners in Northwest Arkansas and our chamois partner in Italy to produce simply the most comfortable short and chamois.
FABX offers an interactive Window Shopping experience, catering to frustrated shoppers, emerging designers and clients facing clothing decision dilemmas. Our innovative AI platform revolutionizes retail, fostering a clearer, community conscious dressing experience.
Go Bay'nanas is a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based venture that reimagines dessert-making into a unique learning experience for kids in Pre K-1st grade. Through a combination of cooking, baking, and literacy activities, we foster practical life skills like math, reading, teamwork, and problem-solving. Our programs encourage hands-on learning and creativity, providing a refreshing alternative to digital engagement. Whether at home or in an after-school setting, we empower young minds to develop valuable skills in a fun and engaging way.
I began Tura Lura Co. and my journey into entrepreneurship on accident, because of an artist grant. After the Builders + Backers program in summer 2022, I purposefully created Candle Pour Bar, a workshop teaching people how to make a candle. I designed it specifically to have a social aspect that you don’t see in these types of classes, to reconnect with others after the pandemic. In 9 months of experimenting, I had over 500 happy participants and I have begun planning for a space dedicated to offering creative workshops that foster connection.
Imagine Trust Security Tech as your digital guardian, defending your online world like locks and alarms protect your home. It erects barriers and defenses, shielding your personal data from unauthorized access, akin to your front door lock safeguarding your home. This tech ensures that only authorized individuals access your valuable information, preserving online privacy. Just as you trust a home security system for physical security, Trust Security Tech acts as a digital bodyguard, unwaveringly vigilant, guaranteeing online safety, and offering peace of mind in the vast digital realm.
I want to develop a sewing training school which will give students an alternative route to the traditional college experience while equipping them with the necessary skills to find employment in the creative and successful field of sewing and alterations.
Divertify offers a unique solution to the problem of unused building materials at construction sites. Instead of these materials being discarded and inevitably ending up in landfills, we connect these materials to architects, builders, and interior designers for their new projects. Our inventory consists of new materials originating from overages, design changes, building mistakes, and ordering errors. Our overarching mission is to establish a circular economy for construction materials. Given that nationally approximately 30% of landfills consist of construction and demolition materials, we offer a convenient and eco-friendly alternative.
Delta Magic is a 501(c)3 non-profit that specializes in coalition building, changing narratives, and building capacity for the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta. Delta Magic was founded by Harvey Williams and Drew Smith. Harvey is the owner/co-founder of Delta Dirt Distillery which is the only Black-owned farm to bottle distillery in the country. Drew is the Vice-President of the Helena-West Helena School Board and the Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas.
As adults, we tend to abandon our creative tendencies, passions, and pursuits to focus on things viewed “more important.” Though we're all born creative, given the choice between creativity and security, we choose security. This stifling of creative impulses leads to burnout, stress, and depression. FReePlay bridges the gap [between creativity and security] by providing tools and safe spaces that empower adults to use play as a path to well-being. Through our digital platform, self-directed workshops, and experiential outings, FReePlay combines the fun practical experience of play with the science (theory) behind play to prove play isn’t so childish after all.
"Tulsa!" is a large-scale movie musical, achieving several cultural and economic objectives. With Tulsa’s vast pool of talent, we can unite around showcasing what modern-day Oklahoma is really like – diverse, creative, and relevant. The process will be a boon for creatives and producers in Oklahoma, and in showing Tulsa as an entertainment powerhouse, the finished product will drive significant cultural interest. Here, we accomplish four main objectives: 1) build local production infrastructure/boost employment; 2) position Tulsa as a prime location for creativity and production; 3) positively impact the image of Oklahoma; 4) make a commercially successful movie.
shoes that help prevent heat injury .compressing air as you walk. with little air lines running up tp your head to cool the brain. creating a breeze with every step...energy conservation and reutilization aimed at temperature homeostasis for the brain. getting |"ahead" of the problemnot to mention overall comfort for heat related activities in general
Shared Experiences is building a new model of rural tourism in the United States. We partner with small businesses, nonprofits, and local leaders to create experiences that connect people with one another. Structured as a social impact company, Shared Experiences is headquartered in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
The world has a plastics crisis. Countless tons of consumer plastics that can be recycled now go to landfill, are incinerated, or otherwise pollute the environment. In collaboration with our neighbors, local businesses, and regional governments, Replay Workshop is diverting plastic waste that was otherwise going to landfill, to make upcycled game accessories and other products. We’re committed to demonstrating the viable use of recycled materials in place of virgin plastics.