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Two JBU Alums Score Spot in Bentonville Business Incubator

by Spencer Bailey | September 21, 2022 at 11:35 a.m.
Courtesy of Colby Richardson Colby Richardson, one of the two JBU alumni who founded Rover Hunting Equipment.

For two John Brown University graduates, success has come quick.

Colby Richardson and Brady Collard, who both graduated from JBU in May, have formed a company that they think will revolutionize the hunting industry and it's already gaining some traction.

"Rover Mobile Tree Stands and Hunting Equipment, a startup cofounded by the two alums, has been selected for the University of Arkansas Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program, a business incubator focused on outdoor recreation companies," said Brandon Howard, the Communications and Social Media Specialist at the University of Arkansas' Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Howard says that the pair formed the company as undergraduates to provide an all-in-one mobile tree stand system that takes the hunter from carry-in to the harvest. "Their concept won first place in the small business division at the 2022 Arkansas Governor's Cup."

Phil Shellhammer, the Senior Director of Business Incubation at the Greenhouse, says that they are looking forward to the addition. "We are very excited to have the founders of Rover Hunting Equipment join the Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Programs.

Shellhammer continued, saying "GORP is designed to help early-stage founders create innovative products and services in the outdoor recreation industry, and Brady & Colby's solution fits squarely into that goal."

Richardson says that setting up existing mobile tree stands is time-intensive, strenuous and dangerous for mobile hunters. "There has been no significant design or paradigm changes for mobile tree stands in the last 20 years, so hunters are stuck buying the same basic style of equipment."

Shellhammer says that they are picky about who they bring in and that Collard and Richardson made the cut. "Not every idea or founder gets accepted into GORP, as we look for founders with dedication to their company and the tenacity to make a product or service that will solve a problem within their sport or activity."

He continued, saying, "Rover Hunting Equipment is definitely working toward a great potential solution and we can't wait to see them progress as they build their business model and prototype this fall."

Howard says that GORP is one of three community-facing business incubation programs led by the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and is housed at The Collaborative, the University of Arkansas' education and research hub in Bentonville.

"This fall, GORP will support eight startups with workshop training, team mentoring and dedicated product/service development to help them scale globally," said Howard. "The 12-week program also provides up to $15,000 in 'non-dilutive seed funding' per company - funding that doesn't require the owner to give up equity in the company."

Shellhammer says that the incubator helps young businesses and entrepreneurs by focusing on teamwork. "The interactions between founders are unique, as the cohort acts like a team working on individual businesses but helping each other succeed."

  photo  Courtesy of Brady Collard Brady Collard, one of the two JBU alumni who founded Rover Hunting Equipment.

Print Headline: Two JBU Alums Score Spot in Bentonville Business Incubator


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