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Winrock International

Science Venture Studio wins expansion funding and finds new home at Winrock International

The science-and-tech startup facilitator and longtime partner of Winrock’s Innovate Arkansas has received new funding and officially joins Winrock.

Fayetteville, Ark. ─ Science Venture Studio (SVS) at Winrock, a nonprofit startup facilitator that helps promising science-and-technology companies obtain federal research funding to commercialize their technology, has been awarded a two-year extension by the Walton Family Foundation and will now be administered directly by Winrock International.

Science Venture Studio works with early-stage science-and-technology companies to secure non-dilutive federal research funding ─ critical front-end cash that enables companies to conduct necessary research and development on their technologies, and which does not require companies to forfeit any equity. Funds are awarded on a competitive proposal basis through the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, both run by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Successfully obtaining and managing the funds is a complex and challenging process, especially for startups.

“Historically, Arkansas science-and-technology startups have had a generally lower win rate of accessing this type of funding compared to startups from other states – until recently,” said Katie Thompson, senior program officer with SVS at Winrock. “Over the last two years companies that collaborated with SVS were 30% more likely to get funding, which is more than double the national success rate,” Thompson added. “With additional funding from the Walton Family Foundation and by joining Winrock, we can scale to help additional startups connect to this critical funding. Our team of grant specialists, technology mentors, scientific illustrators, analysts, and commercialization fellows provides support that gives companies a better shot at successfully developing and commercializing their technologies.”

Science Venture Studio launched in 2020 with funding from the Walton Family Foundation in collaboration with Startup Junkie, Winrock’s Innovate Arkansas, the Northwest Arkansas Council, and the University of Arkansas Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. So far, SVS has helped companies secure more than $3.5 million in non-dilutive federal research funding, and the extension is targeted to double that amount over the next two years.

“We’re thrilled that SVS’s new home is within Winrock,” said David Sanders, director of Innovate Arkansas. “Everyone knows early money is the most expensive money for startups. Non-dilutive funding protects equity, and SVS has become the absolute go-to resource for those building knowledge-based research startups. Our goal is to keep expanding to work with all entrepreneurial support organizations in Arkansas.”

Winrock’s Innovate Arkansas program is already serving many SVS client candidates. With Winrock now hosting SVS, the two programs will enjoy closer coordination and engagement with additional industries and organizations that support startups in Northwest Arkansas and beyond.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to 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. To learn more, visit

About Science Venture Studio

Funded by the Walton Family Foundation and administered by Winrock, Science Venture Studio helps Arkansas science-and-technology companies apply for non-dilutive federal research funding to develop their technologies and grow their companies. Science Venture Studio’s team of experts provides tailored support to help companies successfully secure this funding and commercialize their technologies.     

About Innovate Arkansas

Funded by a grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and administered by Winrock, Innovate Arkansas assists technology entrepreneurs to turn startup companies into viable commercial enterprises. Innovate Arkansas’s focus is on building and managing the programs needed to accelerate business growth for tech-based startups and established corporations in Arkansas. Innovate Arkansas serves a critical role in developing talent, building commerce, and securing the capital required to develop the state’s high-growth economy.

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Science Venture Studio at Winrock International

Science Venture Studio at Winrock International is a science-and-technology startup facilitator that helps promising new, Arkansas-based ventures commercialize and obtain federal funding. The SVS project works with early-stage companies to help them obtain critical, non-dilutive federal funding – front-end cash that does not require startup entrepreneurs to forfeit any equity in their new businesses. The…