FAYETTEVILLE, ARK — Pedro Somarriba, the founder of Lacaida Ropes, launched his initial line of metered climbing ropes in June thanks to the mentorship and training he received through the inaugural cohort of the University of Arkansas Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP).
“GORP was everything to getting us to where we’re at…” – Pedro Somarriba
“We’re three months ahead of where we would be had we not had GORP,” Somarriba said. “GORP was everything to getting us to where we’re at. GORP helped me hone in on how to do that and held me accountable to go do it.”
Somarriba, of Centerton, is a procurement manager and U.S. Army veteran. His vision is to make rock climbing safer by creating innovative, locally made dynamic ropes with custom designs and meter markings. Lacaida will also refocus innovation for sport climbers, he said.
Led by the UA Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, GORP provides a multi-level engagement platform to grow early-stage companies from idea to launch, with in-depth support through workshops, mentorship, consulting, co-working space, network connections, and product/service design.
The 12-week program also provides up to $15,000 in “non-dilutive seed funding” per company, funding that doesn’t require the owner to give up equity in the company.
Somarriba joined three other startups in February that formed the initial GORP cohort. The other companies, Encore Bike Rentals, American Hunt, and Trail Tours, all made significant gains in their companies thanks to GORP.
“All four (companies) are on their way, and all four of them got there because of the community around us and what they’ve provided,” said Phil Shellhammer, director of GORP.