The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center based at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock helped clients obtain nearly $70 million in capital funding and open 141 businesses in 2016, both all-time bests for the organization.
Current and prospective small business owners who worked with the center in 2016 obtained loans and other capital investment totaling $69,855,843. The previous record was $65.3 million in 2015.
The small business center’s services also contributed to the creation of 627 jobs. In the last decade, the center has helped Arkansas small businesses create and retain more than 10,000 jobs.
“The economic impact of small businesses is not small at all. Cities and towns across the state depend on the dollars and jobs generated by the small-business sector,” said state Director Laura Fine. “As demand for our services continues to increase, we are proud to support small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with assistance that helps grow the economy in communities throughout Arkansas.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration recently awarded a $1 million federal grant to UA Little Rock to continue the center’s work in 2017.
Adriana Menchaca-Gendron, associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Small Business Development Centers in Washington, D.C., announced the $1,003,882 award Feb. 1.
Each year, UA Little Rock and six partner universities match the federal grant to host the network of small business and technology development offices across the state.
In addition to the lead center in the UA Little Rock College of Business, regional offices are at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, and University of Arkansas campuses at Fayetteville and Monticello.
Through the Small Business Administration, Congress funds the nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers to provide management assistance to current and prospective business owners. Unique among Arkansas economic development organizations, the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center serves businesses from any county in Arkansas in any industry sector at any stage of business development.
“One of the hallmarks of ASBTDC is we assist all types of Arkansas-based, for-profit ventures,” Fine said. “The local businesses in your neighborhood and town are our clients and potential clients, from the Main Street mom-and-pop places to the tech startups.”