Shellhammer to Lead U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation | University of Arkansas

An accomplished business executive and serial entrepreneur, Phil Shellhammer joined OEI in 2021 to oversee its Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP).

Phil Shellhammer has been named the new director of the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, overseeing a team that is leading the charge in transforming Arkansas into a clear destination for new businesses.

“There are few programs in our region that have grown and made the impact that OEI has over the past several years to our entrepreneurship ecosystem,” Shellhammer said. “I count it a privilege to be asked to lead OEI into its next phase.”

“OEI has a huge year in front of us, as we are building on the success of our current programing with opportunities for growth across the university, our community and the state of Arkansas.”

Shellhammer replaces Sarah Goforth, who had led OEI since 2017. She is taking a new position at U of A to be announced later.

An Ohio native, Shellhammer is an accomplished business executive and serial entrepreneur. He earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Shellhammer joined U of A in 2021 to oversee the Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP), one of three business incubators at OEI.

Since launching GORP with four startups in spring 2022, 32 startups have expanded their businesses through GORP’s semiannual cohort program. GORP has also supported more than 300 entrepreneurs through its a la carte services, which include workshops, networking events, one-on-one consulting and access to co-working space.

In 2023, OEI received a $1.2 million grant to expand GORP programming statewide and support founders in creating innovative products and services within the outdoor recreation industry.

“GORP has provided significant impact to hundreds of early-stage outdoor recreation companies being formed in our community,” he said. “This impact could only be possible due to the amazing team we have at OEI.”

Mike Malone, U of A’s vice chancellor for economic development, noted OEI’s programming goes beyond the campus.

“Phil’s work leading GORP and helping craft OEI’s strategic plan is having a huge impact on our students and for our state. I’m so excited for all that will be achieved under his leadership as executive director.”

About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and curates innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students across all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village, and Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, OEI provides free workshops and programs — including social and corporate innovation design teams, venture internships, competitions and startup coaching. A unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Division of Economic Development, OEI also offers on-demand support for students who will be innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs who start something new.

Brandon Howard, communications manager

Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation


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