What is the Rock It! Lab?

The Rock It! Lab is a place where under-resourced entrepreneurs are given the tools, guidance, and training necessary to start, grow, and scale their businesses.

A partnership of the Central Arkansas Library System and Advancing Black Entrepreneurship, our multi-prong program provides resources and services including
  • technical assistance
  • mentorship
  • marketing and promotion
  • networking opportunities
  • business education
  • one on-one consultations
  • access to capital
  • a 6-month incubator program
  • multi-use coworking space

Do I have to be in the incubator program to use the co-working space?

No. Individuals can take advantage of the co-working space and all the amenities it provides without being in the incubator program. Simply fill out the co-working application and complete an in-person screening interview.

Can I join the incubator program at any time?

The incubator program runs twice a year and is a six-month commitment. The program runs during the fall and spring from . Participants are chosen the month prior to start of the program and must complete the full six months.

What are the costs to participate?

RIL services are provided free of charge to business owners. This is made possible by the partnership between CALS and Advancing Black Entrepreneurship and funding from a number of organizations (see our partnership page).

What can I expect to get out of the incubator program?

When our graduates leave the program, they should have a solid business plan as well as field-tested research to know if their ideas can be successful in the real world. For individuals who sell physical products, they are able to utilize the space on the first floor of the Cox building, in the River Shop, to sell their items.

Are there other resources available besides the co-working space and Incubator program?

The RIL is like a restaurant menu, there are full-service options like the incubator program, a step-down option with the co-working space and then there are ala carte options where you can have a one-time one-on-one consultation or even be assigned a mentor from the business community. We encourage you to reach out to find the level of service that best fits your business’ needs.

Do I need a library card or have to live in the CALS service area?

RIL services are not limited to CALS card members, but we do have an emphasis on helping individuals who are interested in starting or have recently started a business and are from an under-resourced demographic (for our program this means from the Black or Latinx community along with women and veterans).