A 27-year veteran of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center will become the program’s new leader in January.
Laura Fine was named state director by Dr. Jane Wayland, the UALR Stephen Harrow Smith Dean of Business.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that Laura Fine has been named the state director. She has been serving as interim director and successfully led the re-accreditation process for the state network,” Wayland said.
Affiliated with the university since 1982, the ASBTDC is a partnership of the UALR College of Business and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The state director is responsible for management and oversight of the statewide program, which has offices on six other university campuses in addition to the lead office at UALR.
Unique among the state’s economic development programs, the ASBTDC network serves businesses from any county in Arkansas, in any industry sector, at any stage of business development.
With interest in entrepreneurship surging, Fine said she sees great things ahead for the organization.
“Our clients represent the new ventures and small companies across Arkansas that are innovating, providing jobs and building more prosperous communities,” she said. “As more people turn their dreams and passions into businesses, we are eager to help. Our knowledgeable, enthusiastic team of business professionals is committed to providing high-quality training, confidential consulting, and extensive market research.”
Demand for services is high, according to Fine, and ASBTDC will set records for capital acquisition assistance and business starts in 2016. To date, the center has helped its clients secure $68.1 million in capital investment and open 138 businesses this year.
“By giving small business owners the tools and support they need to succeed, we are driving economic development and job growth,” said Fine.
Before her appointment as interim state director, Fine was the associate state director. She joined ASBTDC in 1989 and has held management roles since 1992.
Fine earned her master’s degree in public administration from UALR and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas. A native of Mayflower, Fine and her husband, Milton, have one son and live in Little Rock.