Modern technology gives us many things.

Attracting Supply Chain & Innovation Startups from Around the World to Bentonville with Josh Saffran


On this episode of The Bentonville Beacon, host James Bell sits down with Joshua Saffran, Director of Plug and Play Northwest Arkansas. Plug and Play is an open innovation platform that connects its corporate partners with startups to fill needs and drive innovation forward. Originally based in Silicon Valley, Plug and Play added a hub in Northwest Arkansas to serve its corporate partners in the region, as well as mine for new, innovative startups in the area. Throughout the episode, James and Joshua discuss Plug and Play, Bentonville’s value to businesses, and how startups can stand out from the crowd.

Show Notes
(0:50) Introducing Joshua Saffran
(2:45) The Gents Place
(4:00) Plug and Play
(7:05) Why, How, and When Plug and Play Came to Northwest Arkansas
(8:05) How Plug and Play Connects Corporations with Startups
(9:37) Stories from Plug and Play’s Live Events
(13:38) Sourcing Startups
(14:40) Why Business Leaders and Startups Need to Be In Bentonville
(16:43) Joshua’s #BecauseBentonville Story
(19:40) How to Connect with Joshua and Plug and Play
(20:06) Joshua’s Family
(23:06) How Founders Can Make Their Startups Standout
(24:03) Closing Thoughts

“Most folks are working specifically with the startups, but we’re working with the startups and bringing them to the corporate partners…So it’s a win for Walmart in this example because we’re bringing them technology. It’s a win for the startup because they don’t have that relationship [previously]. So there’s a lot of pluses for both sides in this.” – Joshua Saffran, (5:40)

“Having a global company based out of Silicon Valley with a local hub here in Northwest Arkansas, to me, is a tremendous value to everybody within our ecosystem.” – Joshua Saffran, (6:43)

“[Bentonville’s] community is fascinating—it’s like nowhere else I’ve ever lived, and I’ve lived in Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago, New York…What’s on the horizon to come here is so incredible, and the growth we’ve seen in the last couple years is nothing compared to what’s going to happen in the next few years. The cost of living is great. The technology is coming here…You have three major corporations in Walmart, JB Hunt, and Tyson all here. Anybody that sells to Walmart has an office here. There’s so many reasons to be here.” – Joshua Saffran, (14:54)

“I’ve never seen anything like this—what’s going on [in Bentonville]. The way people interact, connect, help, and pay it forward. It’s such a cool spot.” – Joshua Saffran, (17:22)


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