Arkansas Tourism announces Eksplor Gaming as winner of Ark Tank startup pitch competition

Arkansas Tourism announces Eksplor Gaming as winner of Ark Tank startup pitch competition

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., 2020-Mar-05 — /Travel PR News/ — Ark Tank, a startup pitch competition developed in 2019 by Arkansas Tourism in partnership with Innovate Arkansas, concluded today (March 03, 2020) after five finalists presented their business ideas at the 2020 Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism held at the Fort Smith Convention Center March 1-3.

Eksplor Gaming was named the winner and received a cash prize of $5,000, a guarantee for mentorship, and ongoing advisement with Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Tourism research and development section.

“Not only is Ark Tank an entertaining competition to watch, it also encourages new ideas and new ways of thinking about business,” said Kristine Puckett, interim director of Arkansas Tourism. “It gives the competitors a chance to make connections with industry leaders and promote their business ideas. It’s also a great opportunity for conference attendees to start conversations about partnership and collaboration, and to take home actionable information from our annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism.”

“We were excited to partner with Arkansas Tourism on the Ark Tank pitch competition,” said David Sanders, director of Innovate Arkansas. “Our hope is that from this event, each of the finalists makes connections that can help grow their businesses. Innovate Arkansas’s team is dedicated to working with startup founders to grow their businesses in Arkansas and we look forward to working with more tourism-focused companies that contribute so much to the Arkansas economy.”

From 15 applications received, five finalists were chosen to pitch to judges and conference attendees. The competition criteria required that the presenting companies be a tourism-related business, defined as one that directly interacts with tourists, deals with businesses that cater to tourists, encourages tourism in and travel to Arkansas, and/or supports tourism-related activities in Arkansas. The four other finalists in the competition were: The Local Table NWA, Float Eureka, Dome Life and Dogwood Hills Guest Farm.

Four guests were invited to hear the presentations, ask questions and judge the competition. The panel of judges included: Brad Henry, Managing Partner, Natural Capital; David Sanders, Director, Innovate Arkansas; Gretchen Hall, President and CEO of Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau; Michael Lindsey, Director of Public Affairs for Wal-Mart.

The full competition can be watched on the Arkansas Tourism Industry Facebook page:

For more information, contact Leah DiPietro, 501-682-7606,

About Arkansas Tourism

Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, strives to expand the economic impact of travel and tourism in the state and enhance the quality of life for all Arkansans. The division manages 14 Arkansas Welcome Centers and employs more than 60 staff members across The Natural State. For more information, visit

About Innovate Arkansas

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

Media contact:

Leah DiPietro – Communications Manager
Little Rock, AR

Source: Arkansas  Department of Parks & Tourism