Entrepreneurship is the incubator of innovation. It goes beyond discovery, and moves our economy and society in the direction of progress and prosperity. They create new business and new forms of goods and services, producing a cascading effect across the economy. The state of Arkansas is out front, nurturing ideas for the next generation of high-growth industries. And when it comes to entrepreneurship in Arkansas, these Power Players are leading the way.
Bryan Howe of Altimize learned from his failures to create world-class mobile app software for businesses all over the world. What he loves most about his job is getting to help others solve a problem from hundreds of miles away, while also creating a great relationship that never would have happened otherwise. He would advise young leaders not to be afraid to look at the facts and admit that you don’t know.
Spencer Jones worked in direct patient care as a registered nurse before winning an Arkansas-based business accelerator in 2014. He then acquired another patent for what is now the SafeBreak, and founded Lineus Medical in 2015. One of the things he loves about working at Lineus is getting to do something new and challenging every day. His word of advice for young leaders is to have a giving mentality.
An advocate for entrepreneurship, Haley Allgood became executive director of Startup Junkie in April of 2017. She has personally consulted with over 475 companies. Her team is focused on growth for their clients and themselves, adding five team members in the past year and securing $2.3 million to expand services to thousands of ventures. She encourages young leaders to seek opportunities that make them uncomfortable, as this is when she’s experienced the greatest growth.
G.B. Cazes serves as COO at Metova. Metova serves the world’s leading companies providing mobile, web and cybersecurity solutions that change how people live, work and play. He sees it as an honor to work with Metova’s talented team to develop innovative technology solutions, and enjoys working for a company that values employees and invests in programs to develop future generations of technologists. His advice for young leaders is to surround yourself with smart people, never be afraid to fail, and understand your own strengths and weaknesses.
Keith Woodruff is a 35-year IT industry veteran who joined Edafio Technology Partners in March of 2010 as CEO/president. He attributes Edafio’s rapid growth to a culture of core values that have been the principle drivers for acquiring and retaining clients and team members. These values include an unwavering commitment to the client’s success, doing business with unquestionable integrity, and employees operating as one team with humility and respect. Woodruff’s advice to young entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with talented teammates who share your core values.
Francis Hwang, the president/founder of Bucket Technologies, recently moved to Northwest Arkansas from California to launch his passion product: Bucket. Bucket is technology that digitizes physical coin change at retail locations. Francis encourages young leaders to dedicate at least an hour each day to learning. Spending time to learn about other industries, companies, or people empowers you to be a better person and leader. To learn more about Hwang, please visit buckettechnologies.com.
Andrew Gibbs-Dabney is the former CEO of Fayettechill Clothing Company and founder of LIVSN Designs. He loves that LIVSN allows him to follow passions in design, apparel, conscious capitalism and sustainability. He believes in positive psychology, a test and learn philosophy, data-driven decision making, and putting people in a winning mindset. His advice to new leaders is to build people up publicly, coach them to success privately, be consistent and stay grateful.
Tony Karklins is the founder of HIA Velo, an American-made carbon fiber road bicycle manufacturing company based in Little Rock. Karklins jumped into the bike business when he was just 11 years old. After decades in bike retail, Karklins pursued a career in importing, distribution and brand management with Orbea bicycles of Spain. After his departure from Orbea in 2014, he went on to blaze a new trail and create a brand from the ground up.
Lauren Stokes is the founder and CEO of Lauren James, a national women’s brand that creates preppy, classic Southern-inspired apparel. She’s been named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Retail & Ecommerce list. In 2017, Lauren James was listed as No. 53 on the Inc. 5000. Her favorite part of this journey has been the amazing and talented people. From LJ’s employees to inspiring mentors, she believes the key to success is to surround yourself with great people.
Henry Ho, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Field Agent, is focused on developing product innovation, partnership development and international expansion. Ho worked nineteen years with Procter & Gamble and was a founding member of P&G’s Walmart Team. He spent six years working internationally in Hong Kong/Asia. Ho is a passionate entrepreneur who loves learning, challenging the status quo and mentoring younger leaders. His advice to young entrepreneurs is to get out of your comfort zone and be great by serving your team, your clients and your community.
Tara Limbird is the founder of Limbird Real Estate Group. She finds joy in affecting positive change in lives of those in her community through giving. Last year, she served over 500 families, and she aims to double that figure by 2020.