We are ecstatic to announce that The Conductor — a public-private partnership between the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie, based in Conway, Arkansas — has stepped up to back the Little Launchers Kickstarter campaign in order to provide every elementary school in the surrounding area with a set of Little Launchers books. Before the start of next school year, every elementary school library in Faulkner County will be stocked with a set of Little Launchers books to introduce students to the concepts of entrepreneurship and creative problem-solving.
“Little Launchers is a great book series that fits squarely within the talent development mission of the Conductor,” says Conductor Team Leader Jeff Standridge, also the founder of Cadron Creek Capital. “Part of our mission is demonstrating to students in K12 and beyond that there are very viable career paths to Entrepreneurship. Our participation in this project will allow the Conductor to supply a set of books to every elementary school library in Faulkner Country, which will help us spread the word and further our mission.”
In total, 20 schools will receive a set of Little Launchers books. That accounts for every elementary schools in Conway, Greenbrier, Vilonia, and Mayflower, bringing the grand total to 20 book sets, or 80 books distributed across the county.
The Little Launchers book series features four real kids with real businesses. The featured kid entrepreneurs include:
- Sebastian Martinez, founder and CEO of Are You Kidding?, a wacky socks company
- Gabrielle “Gabby” Goodwin, founder and CEO of GaBBY Bows, a company that makes patented no-slip, double-faced hair barrettes
- Jason Li, founder and CEO of iReTron, a tech startup that buys, resells, and recycles old electronics
- Rachel Zietz, founder and CEO of Gladiator Lacrosse, a lacrosse equipment company
The incredible Little Launchers behind the books are currently 9, 10, 20, and 15 years old respectively, and all started their companies between the ages of 7 and 14 years of age. These stories are inspiring narratives about the power of young minds to solve real-world problems.
“The Conductor is having a truly amazing impact on innovation, entrepreneurship, and education based out of the University of Central Arkansas and extending beyond that into local communities,” says illustrator Li Zeng, also a graphic design professor at the University of Central Arkansas. “Little Launchers is honored to be part of the Conductor’s journey reaching out to every elementary school in Faulkner County about youth entrepreneurship. Such devotion and contribution will come a long way for influencing more and more kids around the world to become creators and problem solvers.”
“This series was dreamed up, written, and illustrated in Arkansas. I can’t wait to see the children of this great state read these books and reimagine what’s possible for their lives,” says author Erica Swallow.
The Conductor is a public-private partnership with the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie Consulting driving innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development in Central Arkansas. The Conductor is a movement to further build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Central Arkansas. To learn more about the Conductor, check out this interview with Jeff Standridge, conducted by Christina Madsen, Associate VP of Communications, Public Relations, and Marketing at the University of Central Arkansas: