LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Little Rock's first tech park is coming up on its one-year anniversary soon, helping to make the state a major player in the tech industry both nationwide and globally.
The park offers space for companies to grow and learn together.
Brent Birch, Executive Director, says he's thankful to help continue fulfilling the city’s need for a space like this. With phase one going so well, there's talks of a phase two coming soon.
“We love being here. There are about 40 other tenants here with us and we get to interact with them on a daily basis,” said Laura Waliski with The Venture Center, one of the parks many tenants.
The Little Rock Technology Park offers entrepreneurs, startups and small tech companies a one roof solution to all their needs.
“Almost the one-year anniversary of this first phase being open, we're pleasantly surprised by the level of activity,” Birch said.
The building offers space, conference facilities, and one-on-one engagement for groups who are like-minded.
“We're able to go in there and have meetings, bring clients in, vendors and partners alike,” said Neil Osam with Ritter Communications.
The park currently has about a 75 percent occupancy rate with small companies.
“And then we're 33 percent with long-term lease space which we expected. It's intended for larger companies who are leased in other buildings and would have to get out of those before moving here. It'll be a little longer on those,” Birch said. He thinks Arkansas' tech industry is on its way to competing with places like Memphis, Oklahoma City and even St. Louis
“Tech is not going anywhere, everything we do now is tech focused. To retain those people who grow up and educate here, we had to have a facility like this to hold them and let them know they had it to come to,” he added.
With downtown’s Creative Corridor’s live, work, play environment, companies feel like everyone downtown benefits from the park's continued success.
“Having The Tech Park here has helped some of the restaurants and businesses in the area,” said Osam.
“Entrepreneurs are integral to the success of this economy. We can grow our own talent. We have several Fortune 100 companies that are here in Arkansas,” said Waliski.
Waliski said that before the park existed, many tech companies just found space to operate where ever they could and were scattered all over the city.
Phase two plans are still in early stages.