After 22 years at the helm of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, State Director Janet Roderick is retiring, effective March 31.
“I have had the privilege of working with a group of highly talented individuals here at UALR and with the SBTDC staff statewide who are committed to helping Arkansas entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. I am confident the ASBTDC will continue to serve the state’s small business community well,” she said.
Roderick said she was particularly proud of the program’s growth in two critical areas – utilizing market research to assist clients and supporting technology-based entrepreneurs.
ASBTDC is a leader in the state and nation in using market and economic intelligence data, consumer psycho-demographic information and geographic information systems (GIS) mapping, according to Roderick. The center subscribes to 15 market research databases and licenses Esri GIS software.
“Arkansas small business owners and entrepreneurs have access to the same information and decision-making tools used by larger companies such as Nike, Home Depot and Target. These resources would typically be out of the price range of most small businesses, but through ASBTDC they pay nothing. Our consultants teach clients how to interpret the research and use it to make decisions,” she said.
The center has provided specialty consulting services to tech-based ventures since 2004 and added “Technology” to its name in 2008 to reflect its technology expertise and national accreditation.
Looking forward, Roderick believes more small businesses need to consider international markets. “Since 90 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S., small business owners need to explore exporting,” said the member of the Arkansas District Export Council.
Roderick was state director of the Hawaii and Alaska Small Business Development Centers before coming to Arkansas. She has been active in the national association of SBDCs, known as America’s Small Business Development Centers, for 30 years, serving on the association’s board of directors and as chair of the Accreditation Committee. She is also a past president of the International Women’s Forum – Arkansas.
To learn more about the ASBTDC, please visit here.