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Navigators Focus on Delta Businesses’ Pandemic Recovery

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is pleased to announce its first four Recovery Navigators partners:

  • Delta Circles, Helena-West Helena – Patricia Ashanti, founder and CEO
  • Delta Community Development and Law Center, Inc., Little Rock – Michael Jackson, president and CEO
  • East Arkansas Enterprise Community, Inc., Forrest City – Ebony Mills
  • Phoenix Youth and Family Services, Inc., Crossett -Christie Lindsey, president and CEO

The Recovery Navigators are ready to aid east and southeast Arkansas small businesses, particularly minority-owned and rural businesses, with their pandemic recovery plans.

“These four organizations provide critical support to communities and small businesses in the Arkansas Delta. We are delighted to partner with these entities and their leaders to support entrepreneurs of color and all small businesses in the region,” said ASBTDC State Director Laura Fine. “Most small businesses are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, and businesses in the Delta region were hit hard by COVID-19.”

As Recovery Navigators, the nonprofit organizations consult directly with local small businesses and connect them to the center’s array of resources. All are active in the Delta region of the state.

Since the pandemic, Delta Circles’ Ashanti sees an increased need for resources and technical support among Delta business owners and entrepreneurs.

“As a result of working with Delta Owned, a recovery navigator initiative funded by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, I witnessed firsthand the essential role that the Recovery Navigators played in the COVID-19 recovery. Due to business owners’ need for additional technical assistance, the Recovery Navigators initiative sponsored by ASBTDC is extremely critical to the on-going success of Delta small businesses and communities,” she said.

The Navigators project is the latest collaborative effort in ASBTDC’s long history of working with local partners to assist businesses in every corner of the state.

“Community-based organizations already working in these areas are seen as trusted resources. Our goal is to come alongside them, learn from them, and add value by sharing our business development expertise,” Fine said.