Wayne Miller, executive director of The Venture Center, said that for all the negativity of the pandemic, there was some inspiration.
“I think the pandemic inspired some entrepreneurship. You know people are stuck at home, and some people have decided to retire a little early. So I think we’ve definitely seen an increase in people’s interest to build and grow businesses,” he said.
Miller said the age range of those using his group’s resources is getting older and feels that the current economic situation may also contribute to entrepreneurial growth.
“Secondly, there is some economic pressure right now that is being felt by entrepreneurs as we look at valuations of companies that have been heavily discounted in the last few months, and there are some opportunities there.”
While interest rates are rising and capital investment may have cooled somewhat, Miller said there are still deals to be done for good, solid businesses.
The Venture Center, located in Little Rock, has survived and thrived during the pandemic and recovery. While its mission is to promote entrepreneurship, it has found a niche in the fintech, or fintech, industry. Miller’s outfit boasts a high percentage rate of 94% commercial success over a seven-year period.
“If you look at typical incubation and acceleration programs, it reverses. So it’s about a 5% to 6% success rate, but it’s a part of our methodology, and how we work with our customers. But for us, that means they are still in business, they are active or have been acquired, so it reflects 94% from a metrics perspective,” he said.
Miller said the average capital investment for a company coming out of one of The Venture Center’s fintech programs is $8 million, barring a few big success stories.
On August 15-17, Little Rock will host the Vincent Fintech Summit. Miller said this is another layer of fintech programming that reinforces the group’s authenticity in the fintech startup space. The summit will bring together hundreds of bankers, financiers, technologists and entrepreneurs to discuss the future of banking.
“What we’ve been able to do is put a great deal of confidence in an environment where both fintechs and banks can win. And they get a chance to sit at the table, and solutions, problems, and companies that are more mature over time.” They provide exactly what they offer for the bankers visiting today – we love to suggest your shovel-ready, or ready-to-bank solutions. can implement these solutions in their institution tomorrow, and what really matters to them is it helping them save money or make money, right? That’s the key and the root of what we do.” They said.
The Vincent Fintech Summit will also include talks between Sarkar Asa Hutchinson and FIS CEO Gary Norcross, a native of Tyroneza, Arkansas. FIS, the Fortune 500 company that acquired Alltel Information Services, was the first sponsor of the first fintech incubator at The Venture Center.
You can watch Miller’s full interview in the video below.