Ideas project looking for creators

Applications are now open for Pine Bluff residents to bring their ideas to life through an idea accelerator program.

Heartland Forward has partnered with Builders + Backers and Go Forward Pine Bluff. They bring the Community Growth Program and Toolkit, a one-of-a-kind idea accelerator, the Pebble Fund and Buildership Program, powered by Builders + Backers, to spur entrepreneurial thinking and action to Pine Bluff.

Anyone with a creative and unexpected idea to solve a problem facing the Pine Bluff community can complete a request at Pine Bluff residents must apply by May 30. Residents with the most promising and innovative ideas will be selected to participate in a two-month virtual program starting June 16, according to a press release.

This new cohort of five builders in Pine Bluff is part of Heartland Forward’s commitment to fund and support 1,000 builders across the heartland by 2023 and a summer cohort of builders in nine cities.

A cohort of 50 builders graduated from the program earlier this month in Iowa City, Iowa, Oxford, Miss., Tulsa, Okla. And Oklahoma City, Okla.

“Problem solving with an entrepreneurial mindset will be key to rebuilding our local post-covid economies, and our community growth program and toolkit has already proven to be an effective and meaningful way to accelerate the entrepreneurial thinking needed. to help our communities thrive,” said Ross DeVol, President and CEO of Heartland Forward.

“We are excited to bring this program to Pine Bluff as part of our commitment to support 1,000 builders across the heartland by 2023. We are confident that this next cohort of builders will have the innovative thinking and ideas to create real change in their communities, and we look forward to seeing what they can accomplish in the months and years to come,” said DeVol.

Donna Harris is CEO of Builders + Backers.

“Every community has potentially game-changing ideas lying dormant,” Harris said. “The key – and the economic urgency – is to get more people, in more places, to actually put these ideas into action. That’s the power of small experiments and the premise of our Idea Accelerator program. less than a single venture capital investment, we can spark and fuel thousands of experiments across the country and see new businesses, initiatives and ventures emerge.”

Go Forward Pine Bluff CEO Ryan Watley commented on the company.

“Residents of Pine Bluff and southeast Arkansas have a great opportunity to work alongside experts in the field of entrepreneurship,” Watley said. “The Generator’s work has demonstrated the need for additional intervention. I anticipate that those who participate will broaden their vision, deepen their business acumen, and ultimately monetize their unique approach to the problems of the economy.”

At the heart of the program are the four pillars of the Builders + Backers program, designed to engage and empower Builders through:

• Ideas Accelerator: This cohort-based program combines a 45-day Bootcamp Builder to teach participants how to put their ideas into action, followed by 45 days of actively executing their ideas through a single experience.

• Pebble Fund: All builders are supported with a $5,000 Pebble grant to test their ideas. Participants are mentored by master builders throughout the program.

• Storytelling: A comprehensive media program that curates, captures and distributes Buildership stories, both within programs and in communities around the world. Through videos, written stories, social media and media partnerships, the program inspires people to become Builders.

• Buildership Workshops: Workshops and other events introduce people to Buildership ideas and demonstrate that anyone can generate creative solutions through entrepreneurial experimentation that contribute to the sustainability of communities.

The pilot program in Tulsa and Oxford included 15 builders solving problems in their communities related to workforce development, volunteerism, food awareness and more. To learn more about builders, check out

Heartland Forward is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to improve economic performance in the central United States by advocating for evidence-based solutions to drive job creation, knowledge-based growth and inclusiveness and better health outcomes. . Heartland Forward conducts independent, data-driven research and programs to facilitate action-oriented discussions and impactful policy recommendations. To learn more, visit

Builders + Backers invests in exceptional entrepreneurs who are building businesses globally to power an entirely different future – a future where technology creates value for many instead of capturing it for the few. Through proprietary programming, Builders + Backers also inspires and equips people to best seize the opportunities of our digital age – from experimenting and solving problems in their local communities to starting new businesses that could to evolve. By supporting the most creative builders across the country, we can shape the digital future to be one in which more people participate and thrive.

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