May 26, 2020

Heartland Forward welcomes new fellow

Yee-Lin Lai, specialist in entrepreneurial development, joins the “think and do” tank as a fellow

Heartland Forward expands research efforts with addition of new fellow

BENTONVILLE, Ark., -- Heartland Forward announces Yee-Lin Lai, specialist in entrepreneurial development, joins the “think and do” tank as a fellow. Lai spent a decade working for the government in Singapore developing policies and programs focused on advancing the country’s capacities in research and development, commercialization of research and entrepreneurship.

“We are thrilled to add Yee-Lin to our Heartland Forward team,” said CEO and President Ross DeVol. “While Yee-Lin’s entrepreneurial knowledge as a discipline is exemplary, it is her practical application of what works on the ground in building entrepreneurial ecosystems that is of critical value to the “do” part of our mission.”

While on sabbatical in Northwest Arkansas, she applied her experience to understand the local entrepreneurial ecosystem by assisting the dean of the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in gathering insights and developing an in-depth understanding of challenges faced by local entrepreneurs. That work led to her current role as a program officer of Entrepreneurial Development for the Home Region program at the Walton Family Foundation. This role provides an opportunity to collaborate with various organizations to develop initiatives such as Endeavor Global, Plug and Play Northwest Arkansas, and Kiva Hub Northwest Arkansas --- to support and enhance the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“Research and benchmarking are always essential before introducing a program to the region’s ecosystem,” shared Lai. “I am excited to work with the Heartland Forward team as their insights and research has been, and will continue to be, immensely informative while planning action steps. At the same time, I am eager to contribute a practitioner’s perspective to the Heartland Forward’s “think and do” mission.”
Lai holds a PhD in information systems, from the National University of Singapore. She was also a visiting scholar at the Haas Business School, University of California, Berkeley.

About Heartland Forward
Heartland Forward’s mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth, and improved health outcomes. We conduct independent, data-driven research to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations.