FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Fayetteville Public Library is inviting local entrepreneurs to apply for its third group of the Maker to Market program.
The program is open to entrepreneurs with a practicable product idea, such as a custom prototype, an app, or jewelry that uses the library's Center for Innovation's tools and equipment.
The program's goal is to show entrepreneurs how to build their own product prototypes, and to develop micromanufacturing runs of their products with the center's resources.
The 12-week course will be from June to September and participants are asked to attend the full period.
The program is divided into two phases.
Phase One - Supports the business owner through:
- Product development
- Refinement and micromanufacturing runs
- Providing expertise
- Access to tools
Phase Two - Consists of classes taught by local experts including:
- Help with business plans
- Funding options
The first group of the program is coming to a successful conclusion, with members completing the course. The first group included students across various verticals, including a digital synthesizer kit, a travel agent making custom travel keepsakes, an educational geology-based puzzle, and more.
Randi Sparks of Pyrogenic Arts is an artist who creates colorful ceramic objects, fiber art, and jewelry. She uses the Center for Innovation to create three-dimensional molds of printed forms in her pottery-making process.
Sparks says she has enjoyed the program as it's helped her take important steps for her company. “From Maker to Market has helped me feel more comfortable taking steps to formalize the legal side of my business and to protect my assets so my company can continue to grow," she said.
Sparks says one thing she has enjoyed in particular is meeting business professionals within the community who are passionate about helping entrepreneurs succeed.
Another business owner that has used the program is Lisa Meeks of The Cobbled Cottage Craft Company. Meeks used the program to produce a three-dimensional puzzle of the geologic provinces of Arkansas with elevations and more. She plans to use these prototypes to provide tactile learning experiences in STEM education with an emphasis on geology.
“Without the help of the Center for Innovation, my ideas would not have been transformed into something tangible that might lead to a new career and a new business," Meeks said.
Maker to Market applications will ask for general information about the applicant and details about business and products. The deadline to apply is May 9. Click here to apply.
The program is funded by the Walton Family Foundation. For questions about the program and application process you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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