NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The Northwest Arkansas Council is investing more than $1 million to attract top talent to the region through the LifeWorks Here initiative, which brings to light the lifestyle, career and innovation benefits offered by the region.
The council is offering remote tech professionals and entrepreneurs $10,000 in Bitcoin to attract them to the region. In addition to the cryptocurrency, recipients will also receive a street or mountain bicycle to help “take advantage of the 162 miles of paved trails, the 37-mile Razorback Regional Greenway, and the 322 miles of world-class mountain biking trails that has made outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area.”
Alternatively, participants can choose cash instead of Bitcoin, and an annual membership to art or cultural institution instead of a bicycle.
Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, and we’re now seeing more explosive growth in our tech sector. This expanded incentive offer — Bitcoin and a Bike — not only embraces the growing trend toward the use of cryptocurrency as a payment option by employers, but also helps increase our pipeline of talent to benefit tech employers, startups, cities, local businesses and the region overall.Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council
The bitcoin offer is focused on tech professionals and entrepreneurs with expertise in blockchain-related technologies but is open to a diverse pool of potential applicants looking to call Northwest Arkansas home. The use and popularity of bitcoin and cryptocurrency have grown significantly in the past few years and are now accepted by many financial institutions and retail. Central to the emergence of cryptocurrency systems and other sectors is the role blockchains play in helping maintain the security and storage of the data by users.
According to a news release, the initiative is made possible by philanthropic support from Tom and Steuart Walton through the Walton Family Foundation. The Walton brothers are the grandsons of Walmart Inc. founder Sam Walton.
The region touts the Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas — a critical asset for Northwest Arkansas’ growth as a leading tech hub. The Center, which is partnering with the Northwest Arkansas Council to provide technical expertise and counsel related to specific needs for blockchain-related offerings, was established in May 2018 with the mission to make the Sam M. Walton College of Business a premier academic leader in research and education of blockchain-enabled technologies and digital ecosystems.
“We believe next-generation talent is essential to further transform our region into a hub for up-and-coming tech innovators and businesses,” said Mary Lacity, director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas. “We’re excited to see our region leading the way with Bitcoin and a Bike to not only bring in new talent, but also generate interest in the important blockchain-focused work taking place in our region.”
Those interested in applying can visit https://findingnwa.com/incentive/.