by Julia Kramer
Arkansas small businesses made their way to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) offices in Little Rock on March 21, 2018 for two free educational workshops. These workshops, hosted by the Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Division of the AEDC, included a “Certification Assistance Workshop” and a “Minority Business Loan Mobilization Guaranty Program.”
Pat Brown, Minority and Women-owned Business Division Director, said the workshops were designed to explain the certification process and cover not only the benefits of becoming a certified small business, but also the application process, investigation process and eligibility requirements.
The AEDC has been hosting bi-monthly workshops since May 2015. An average of 30 to 40 businesses showed up at the March 21 sessions, and Brown anticipates a similar turnout for the upcoming workshops in May, July, September and November.
“Companies are realizing that there are benefits in certifying their business,” he said. “As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of certified businesses.”
The Certification Assistance Workshop was two hours and focused on the state’s Minority Business Enterprise certification program. This focused informed business owners on how to bid on contracts, and “provide services for state agencies that might not otherwise be offered to smaller businesses,” according to a press release by the AEDC.
According to the same AEDC press release, the Minority Business Loan Mobilization Guaranty Program seminar focused on helping “state-certified minority businesses obtain 90 percent of necessary capital—ranging from $10,000 to $100,000—with loan guarantees for approved projects.”
The AEDC will be hosting their signature event, the 2018 Arkansas Matchmaking Event, on September 13. The event will take place at the Metroplex Event Center in Little Rock and a large turnout is expected.
“Arkansas has created an environment where small businesses can thrive,” Brown said.