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Delivering Fresh Opportunity for Ambitious Startups

January 22, 2020
In Northwest Arkansas, entrepreneur Edwin Ortiz leverages a host of local resources to bring his startup dreams to life.

As an entrepreneur, my days start at 5 am. I work out, take my daughter to school and head to the office—talking to customers, coordinating delivery drivers and pitching new restaurant partners.

Having worked on supply chain management for the last seven years, I know that efficiency is everything, especially as a startup that has very limited resources.

NWA Entrepreneurship. Edwin Ortiz 11
An Appetite for Success Helps Startup Dream Come True
In Northwest Arkansas, Luncher CEO Edwin Ortiz found a supportive community of entrepreneurs eager to help his young company test and refine its free meal-delivery service.

My start up, Luncher, is an on-demand consolidation platform that offers free lunch delivery to offices and nearby “hotspots,” saving people time, money, and effort during their workday.

My goal is two-fold: to make lunch delivery affordable for more people, while saving them (and their employers) valuable time.

Luncher CEO Edwin Ortiz begins his workday with a workout at 5 a.m.

Starting a business is hard. It helps that here in Northwest Arkansas, there is an organized and supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem that has embraced my business and allowed us to accomplish way more than we might otherwise be able to do on our own.

At the end of each day, the sense of accomplishment I feel in creating a business that helps others is what makes me want to get up and do it all over again. As most entrepreneurs will tell you, the benefits extend beyond the business you get to create, but also to the person you become.

Edwin Ortiz says he's been embraced by Northwest Arkansas' supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem, which has helped Luncher grow.

Luncher’s journey began at a weekly event called 1 Million Cups, a platform for entrepreneurs to present their ideas to the small business community. We pitched, and from there we started getting leads into companies that wanted to work with us.

As I developed my plan, Startup Junkie has been hugely important. An organization based out of Fayetteville, it lends free support to startups as they refine, grow and test their ideas.

Startup Junkie’s team helps Luncher with everything from financial questions to technology advice. They're very knowledgeable and always willing to help.

Northwest Arkansas is a "hidden gem" for entrepreneurs, says Luncher founder Edwin Ortiz.

We also participate in Fuel Accelerator, a mentorship and education program supported by Startup Junkie and other community partners that focuses on specific industry verticals.

Our accelerator centers on supply chain management, giving us the tools to move towards our goal of becoming a useful service for a big company. The accelerator has opened a lot of doors to create relationships with big partners in the area, something we couldn’t do on our own.

Luncher is now headquartered out of Exchange, a rent-free incubator space, which has been an amazing benefit to us. Exchange is a collaboration between, RevUnit (a digital product development agency) and other partners.

We are surrounded by amazing startups that have pitched and won a spot at Exchange, and we get to collaborate with really smart people from our neighbors at RevUnit, gaining their perspectives on the future of technology and design.

Northwest Arkansas is a hidden gem for entrepreneurs. The heritage of entrepreneurship in this area goes a long way, and as a startup founder myself, I can feel it. Here, people understand it takes resources and tenacity for companies move and grow.

The Walton Family Foundation promotes a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northwest Arkansas through support to grantees such as the Startup Junkie Foundation.

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