The small businesses assisted by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC), headquartered at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, are getting bigger, and they credit the center for helping them grow.
Employment growth for ASBTDC clients was 25.2 percent higher than for the average Arkansas business last year. Businesses served by the ASBTDC network in 2017 added an average of 1.7 jobs each in 2018, according to a recently released analysis of the program’s economic impact.
The study looked at how businesses assisted in the 2017 calendar year performed in 2018. Clients who received five or more hours of consulting were asked about sales and employment changes and financing obtained, as well as their opinion of ASBTDC services.
Businesses responding to the survey said they added 1,757 jobs in 2018 and retained another 912 existing jobs, thanks to the center’s assistance.
Sales growth was 31.6 percent higher for client businesses compared to the average business in the state. Clients with established businesses saw an average sales increase of $231,671, while clients who started businesses recorded average sales of $159,422.
The study also found that the center helped businesses generate nearly $8.1 million in state tax revenues and $4.4 million in federal tax revenues last year. Clients generated a return on investment of $5.43 for every dollar invested in the ASBTDC program, the study concluded.
“Small businesses in all industries across the state turn to us to help them achieve their goals,” said Laura Fine, state director. “We are here to help both startups and existing businesses plan effectively, obtain financing, and increase their sales. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of our services and the contributions our small business clients are making to Arkansas’ economy.”
Dr. James J. Chrisman, an independent consultant, authored the study. 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.