About the Arkansas Economic Development Institute

The Institute was created in 1955 by the University of Arkansas as the Arkansas Industrial Research Center. Its purpose then as now, is to provide research, technical assistance, and training to the state’s leaders, public and private, that supports and enhances the economic development of our state. The Arkansas Legislature has provided funding to the Institute since its inception to carry out its mission. The greatest strength that the Institute has had during its 62-year life has been its affiliation with the UA System. It has allowed the Institute to provide neutral, credible, and non-partisan assistance to public and private policy makers working towards a better Arkansas.

The Institute has been housed in different institutions under different names and is currently located in the College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. AEDI has and continues to be dedicated to supporting the Arkansas economic development community by serving as a source of sound and credible research, technical assistance, and training.

Work of the Institute

AEDI in one of the few university-based economic development units in the United States that offer neutral, credible research, and technical assistance whose sole focus is to support and enhance its state’s economic development activities. AEDI offers assistance in data and analysis; economic forecast and impact, and, community economic development assistance. AEDI offers this assistance by effectively addressing the areas of…

  1. Public Information — utilizing the intellectual assets of the Institute to provide information to the public and in general and others in the state of Arkansas.
  2. Business Intelligence — provide data and the interpretation of the date of the state of Arkansas and local officials and industry leaders for decision-making. Supporting and recommending appropriate business categories for specific communications based on assessment strengths, capabilities, and existing industries. This effort is a proactive process evaluating the issues that prevent economic growth.
  3. Regional Assessment — regional forecasting, cooperation, engaging leadership, facilitation to increase community capacity for business retention and expansion.
  4. Community Capacity — providing research and training for elected officials, chambers of commerce, and other economic development organizations to identify issues and weakness in their communities. Proactive education will provide consistency to these communities during leadership turnover.


Located in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development Building, the AEDI is a part of the UA Little Rock College of Business. In a single location, the Institute provides specialized services which support the economic development of Arkansas and are available to businesses, governmental units, communities, and private individuals throughout the state.


The AEDI is a non-academic outreach unit of the University of Arkansas System located in the College of Business on the UA Little Rock campus. Staff hold degrees in Urban & Regional Planning, Economics, Law, Statistics, Marketing, Management Information Systems, Geography, Geospatial Technologies, Communicative Disorders/Audiology, Business Administration, Sociology, Information Systems and Data Analysis, Graphic Design, Adult Education, Labor and Industrial Relations, Regional and Urban Economics, Community and Business Development, English, Public History, and, Business Management.

AEDI FY 2017 Annual Report

FY 2017 marked a monumental point in the life of the 62-year old Institute supporting the communities, organizations, and citizens of Arkansas involved in enhancing economic development throughout the state. The following represents a sampling of the work undertaken by the Institute in FY 2017. Download the AEDI FY 2017 Annual Report.