U of A’s Small Business and Technology Center is making a big difference for Arkansas businesses



submitted

ASBTDC Director Mary Beth Brooks

In 2021, the U of A Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center’s expanded team of consultants and specialists helped a record number of new and existing clients succeed in starting and growing small businesses in the North -western Arkansas.

Facing similar challenges faced by the NWA small business community throughout the COVID pandemic in 2020, consultants rendered more than 3,700 hours of service to 1,346 clients. These efforts generated an economic impact for NWA of $35.4 million in capital injection and 30 new business start-ups.

A new business startup and already a Fayetteville favorite, Pearl’s Books opened in fall 2021, a gathering space that encourages readers, writers, and the community at large to meet and discuss books. ASBTDC offered these entrepreneurs expert business advice on finance, website review and social media.

Needing pandemic relief funding in 2020, the Springdale-based producers of Caribe reached out to ASBTDC for consultation. Working capital was secured through Forge, and in 2021 World Trade Center Arkansas offered e-commerce market entry resources, contacts, and strategy to international clients Caribe wanted for Five Star Jerky. Working with partners in our region and other units of the Economic Development Division has enabled ASBTDC to meet the unique needs of this client.

ASBTDC offered 50 free educational programs with 649 participants. Programs were offered in the areas of marketing, human resources, finance, technology, leadership, and starting a business in Arkansas. One of the highlights of 2021 was the launch of Financial Boot Camp, with 28 small business owners and entrepreneurs completing the program. Planning for a new series of trainings for the Spanish-speaking community was also completed. Up-to-date information on events, small business resources, and small business news can be found through these links.

The U of A ASBTDC celebrated the end of 2021 with Principal Mary Beth Brooks honored as Business Advocate of the Year at the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. Facing unusual challenges due to the pandemic while providing customary supports to startups and existing businesses, ASBTDC continues to facilitate a big impact on small businesses in Northwest Arkansas.

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