The University of Arkansas (UA) has selected six startups to join the third cohort of its Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP). The spring 2023 cohort consists of five companies focused on cycling and one with a focus on mountain climbing.
GORP is the flagship business incubation program of UA’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (OEI) and is based at The Collaborative, the university’s education and research hub in Bentonville. The 12-week program provides each company with up to $15,000 in funding that doesn’t require the owner to give up equity. It also offers training, mentoring, and product and service development to help the companies scale globally.
Phil Shellhammer, OEI’s senior director of business incubation, said the cohort offers an opportunity for “cross-pollination” among the owners. “Each individual founder brings with them unique and valuable experiences that I can see beneficial to some of the other founders in the cohort,” Shellhammer said.
The startups in the cohort include All Bodies on Bikes Clothing Co., a cycling apparel company co-founded by Marley Blonsky; Best Ride of your Life (b-royl), a cycling apparel company co-founded by Ironman triathlete Tracy Byrd and Andrew Jacuzzi; Cloud Pad, an outdoor bouldering products company co-founded by Alex Huesing and Pedro Somarriba; Greenway Bike Co., a company converting bicycles from analog to electric founded by Brent Robinson; Reggy, a company offering tools to connect coaches and event organizers with cyclists founded by Eliot Jackson; and UNCL (Universal Network Controlled Lock) Co., a startup comprising an app-enabled security device for bicycles co-founded by UA MBA students Michael Burton, Clayton Woodruff, Payton Lenz and Chris Roderick.
The GORP program is a great opportunity for these startups to gain the resources and mentorship they need to succeed in the outdoor recreation industry. With the help of the program, the startups can make an impact in the industry and make their dreams a reality.