Businesses served by the ASBTDC network said the counseling they received led to $305.8 million in sales revenue last year, according to a recently released independent analysis of the program’s economic impact.
The study analyzed sales and employment changes, financing obtained, and tax revenues generated by clients who received five or more hours of assistance in the 2016 calendar year. A one-year snapshot, the study focused on how the businesses performed in 2017.
Sales growth was 14.3 percent higher for client businesses compared to the average Arkansas business. Clients with established businesses saw an average sales increase of $114,093, while clients who started businesses recorded average sales of $355,456.
The center’s assistance also led to job growth. Client businesses created 1,542 jobs, increasing employment 5.8 percent more than other businesses.
The study also found that assistance from the center helped businesses
Retain 1,228 existing jobs
Generate $8.3 million in state tax revenues and $3.8 million in federal tax revenues
Secure $131.7 million in capital financing
“As this study shows, ASBTDC small business clients are growing their companies, creating and retaining jobs, and accessing capital,” said Laura Fine, ASBTDC state director. “These small businesses are making an impact on Arkansas’ rural and urban communities, leading to a stronger state economy.”
For every dollar invested in the ASBTDC program, clients generated a return on investment of $4.56, the study concluded.
Dr. James J. Chrisman, an independent consultant, conducted the annual analysis. Chrisman calculated changes in clients’ employment and sales data from the year they received assistance to the following year, then compared the results with the average changes for all Arkansas businesses during the same time period.
Unique among the state’s economic development organizations, ASBTDC services are available to businesses from any county in Arkansas, in any industry sector, at any stage of development. The program is funded by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and six other state universities in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.