Arkansas has emerged as a hub for professional services firms specializing in the retail value chain (RVC). Many of these firms have achieved successful exits worth over $50 million. A new initiative called Highstep aims to build on this strength by launching 10 new AI-powered professional services startups in Arkansas over 5 months.

By combining Arkansas's RVC expertise with cutting-edge AI, Highstep will create "scalable services" models with operational leverage similar to software companies. The founders will participate in an incubation program providing support, while 5 companies will receive $100,000 investments and be paired with RVC services CEO/founder mentors.

Infusing generative AI into services processes from the start can transform traditional models into highly productive, repeatable revenue businesses. The goal is for Highstep to cement Arkansas's leadership in the RVC for decades by creating a launchpad for AI-powered agencies. The group of mentors and investors will amplify the model's impact.

By executing this vision successfully, Highstep will catalyze a new generation of scalable, tech-enabled professional services firms and exits mirroring earlier pioneers. The next agency success stories will be inspired by the success of the mentors.