Little Rock has become the latest Arkansas city to be designated a “Competitive Community” by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
The city recently completed its Competitive Communities Initiative (CCI) evaluation, which is designed to “ensure the city’s preparedness to successfully compete for jobs and investments,” according to an AEDC press release.
Currently, there are only five Competitive Communities in Arkansas, including Little Rock. The other cities include Paragould, Newport, Russellville and Jonesboro. These cities are required to be re-evaluated every two years to maintain the Competitive Communities designation.
“The capital city continues to progress and grow its economic development efforts,” said AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston, “by focusing on its strengths and setting itself apart from other similar cities in surrounding states. Little Rock has defined qualities and appealing amenities that will continue to attract business and industry leaders from across the nation and the globe. When one of our communities wins an expansion or relocation project, all of Arkansas benefits.”
The Competitive Communities initiative is looking for Arkansas cities that are competitive in four categories: economic development organizational structure, economic development funding, workforce, and product readiness.
“In today’s competitive marketplace, we must be able to be adapt to the ever-changing economic landscape,” said Little Rock Regional Chamber President/CEO Jay Chesshir. “Having the CCI designation will help Little Rock contend for economic development projects as well as help us achieve our MetRock 2020 strategic plan goals.”
To achieve the Competitive Communities designation, cities must commit to a completing a questionnaire that details the city’s workforce, funding sources, available and shovel-ready sites, and other pertinent economic development information.
Afterwards, AEDC evaluators use the information to “understand any gaps or weaknesses that could negatively affect economic growth.” The city can then formulate an action plan to improve areas that require attention.
Once the four pillars of the initiative are sound, the city will be designated as a Competitive City.