SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Plug and Play announced plans to open a supply chain and logistics accelerator program in Northwest Arkansas. The new program will bring innovative startups from around the world to Northwest Arkansas and build upon the fast-growing region's robust innovation ecosystem. The area is home to the three Fortune 500 founding partners, a network of global and national companies that support these enterprises and the University of Arkansas. An official launch event will take place in Northwest Arkansas this summer.
"We are excited to accelerate and invest in startups in Northwest Arkansas as it is the birthplace of some of the world's largest companies like Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt," says Mike Zayonc, Founder of Plug and Play's Supply Chain & Logistics program. "The founding partners in this program will be able to collaborate with our worldwide startup network right in their own backyard."
The effort, supported by the Walton Family Foundation, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and founding corporate partners J.B. Hunt, Tyson Foods and Walmart, will be coordinated locally by the Northwest Arkansas Council.
"This new relationship with Plug and Play will leverage our regional strength in supply chain and logistics," said Nelson Peacock, the Northwest Arkansas Council's president and CEO. "This program will shine a greater spotlight on all of the great things happening in Northwest Arkansas."
With a population of over 555,000 people, Northwest Arkansas offers one of the top regional economies in the United States. The region will provide participants in the accelerator program access to a network of industry experts, including Fortune 500 companies, leading supply chain and logistics faculty from the University of Arkansas and business development opportunities. For the last four years, U.S. News & World Report has recognized Northwest Arkansas as one of the Top 5 Best Places to Live in the U.S. Known for its expansive 400-mile trail network and world-class art institutions such as Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the area is recognized as an emerging technology and entrepreneurial activity hub in America's Heartland.
Plug and Play will work collaboratively with participants from the region to identify key industry challenges in supply chain and logistics. Once identified, Plug and Play will seek out the best startups to help develop solutions to these key challenges. The program will include two cohorts of 10 companies each year and will feature workshops, mentorship sessions, and summits that will bring innovation, business development and investment opportunities to Northwest Arkansas. The accelerator will focus on supply chain optimization, blockchain, last-mile delivery, warehouse automation, IoT sensors, predictive analytics, machine learning, and more.
A grant from the Walton Family Foundation will support the entrepreneurial education and training curriculum for accelerator participants, as well as support community events and mentoring workshops.
"Northwest Arkansas is known for driven entrepreneurs who created access to opportunity and transformed communities," said Karen Minkel, Home Region Program Director at the Walton Family Foundation. "Plug and Play's accelerator will support the next generation of promising startups that will strengthen our innovation ecosystem."
As part of the accelerator program, participating startups will be matched with mentors to refine their business models. Participants will also be able to work closely with the founding partner companies to identify potential collaboration opportunities. At the conclusion of each program, startups will be able to showcase ideas to prospective customers and investors, including strategic partners from the Plug and Play's global network.
JOHN ROBERTS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, J.B. HUNT
"Technology is changing the way we move freight, and collaborating with Plug and Play gives us the opportunity to team-up with leading startups on solutions that will help our customers," said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt. "Bringing the Supply Chain and Logistics Accelerator program to Northwest Arkansas will also showcase the region's status as an innovation hub, and we look forward to working with these startups on the next big idea."
JOHN R. TYSON, DIRECTOR IN THE OFFICE OF THE CEO, TYSON FOODS
"Innovation in logistics and the overall efficiency of supply chains are critical as we continue to grow our company," said John R. Tyson, Director in the Office of the CEO of Tyson Foods and great-grandson of the company founder. "We've been working with Plug and Play for more than a year and feel there's more opportunity to collaborate. Having an accelerator like this in Northwest Arkansas will give us access to the creative and entrepreneurial thinking we need to succeed in our highly-competitive industry."
GREG SMITH, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, SUPPLY CHAIN, WALMART U.S.
"Innovation that increases efficiency in our supply chain will help our team continue to be a competitive advantage for the company and ensure we can maintain everyday low prices for our customers however they want to shop," said Greg Smith, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain, Walmart U.S. "By combining the strength of Walmart and the speed of startups, this partnership with Plug and Play will accelerate innovation and support our efforts to maintain a best-in-class supply chain."
SAEED AMIDI, CEO AND FOUNDER, PLUG AND PLAY
"We are very excited to begin our work with these great organizations like Walmart, J.B. Hunt, and Tyson Foods in Northwest Arkansas to develop the ecosystem and culture of entrepreneurship," says Saeed Amidi, Founder & CEO of Plug and Play. "With our startups, we can bring efficiency and cost savings in the supply chain. Through this new operation here, we will be able to connect Northwest Arkansas to Silicon Valley, China, Singapore, Germany, and the rest of our global network."
For more information on how to get involved with Plug and Play Northwest Arkansas, please visit: https://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/arkansas/
To learn more about Northwest Arkansas, visit http://www.nwacouncil.org/northwest-arkansas where you'll find an infographic detailing some of the region's many attributes.
ABOUT PLUG AND PLAY SUPPLY CHAIN
Plug and Play Supply Chain & Logistics is the world's largest Supply Chain & Logistics Innovation Platform. Plug and Play is a global innovation platform. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, we have built accelerator programs, corporate innovation services, and an in-house VC to make technological advancement progress faster than ever before. Since inception in 2006, our programs have expanded worldwide to include a presence in over 20 locations globally giving startups the necessary resources to succeed in Silicon Valley and beyond. With over 10,000 startups and 280 official corporate partners, we have created the ultimate startup ecosystem in many industries. We provide active investments with 200 leading Silicon Valley VCs, and host more than 700 networking events per year. Companies in our community have raised over $7 billion in funding, with successful investments in companies include Danger, N26, Guardant Health, Vudu, SoundHound, Dropbox, Rappi, Lending Club, and PayPal. For more information, visit: https://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/supply-chain/
ABOUT THE WALTON FAMILY FOUNDATION
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2018, the foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through thTickers OK in this?eir mobile devices. Each week, over 275 million customers and members visit our more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2019 revenue of $514.4 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visitinghttp://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.
ABOUT TYSON FOODS, Inc.
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is one of the world's largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it's available and raise the world's expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company had 121,000 team members at September 29, 2018. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit www.tysonfoods.com
ABOUT JB HUNT TRANSPORT
J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., a Fortune 500, S&P 500, and NASDAQ-100 company, provides innovative supply chain solutions for a variety of customers throughout North America. Utilizing an integrated, multimodal approach, the company applies technology-driven methods to create the best solution for each customer, adding efficiency, flexibility, and value to their operations. J.B. Hunt services include intermodal, dedicated, refrigerated, truckload, less-than-truckload, flatbed, single source, final mile, and more. J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. stock trades on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol JBHT and is a component of the Dow Jones Transportation Average. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of JBHT. For more information, visit http://www.jbhunt.com.
ABOUT THE NORTHWEST ARKANSAS COUNCIL
Established by Sam Walton and 30 other business leaders in 1990, the Northwest Arkansas Council is a private, nonprofit organization working to advance job opportunities, talent recruitment, physical infrastructure and quality of life in the region. Most of the Council's more than 100 members are companies and they include Walmart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transport Service, Simmons Foods and George's Inc. To learn more, visit http://www.nwacouncil.org. To learn more about Northwest Arkansas, visit https://findingnwa.com/
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