In 2021, the expanded team of consultants and specialists with the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at the U of A helped a record number of new and existing clients achieve success in starting and growing small businesses in Northwest Arkansas.
Facing similar challenges experienced by the NWA small business community throughout the COVID pandemic in 2020, consultants rendered over 3,700 hours of service to 1,346 clients. These efforts generated economic impact to NWA of $35.4 million in capital infusion and 30 new business starts.
A new business start and already a Fayetteville favorite, Pearl’s Books opened in fall 2021, a gathering space that encourages readers, writers and the general community 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, Springdale-based Caribe Producers reached out to ASBTDC for consultation. Working capital was secured through Forge, and in 2021 World Trade Center Arkansas offered resources, contacts and e-commerce market entry strategy to Caribe’s desired international customers for Five Star Jerky. Collaboration with our region’s partners and other Division of Economic Development units offered ASBTDC the ability to address this client’s unique needs.
ASBTDC offered 50 complimentary educational programs with 649 attendees. Programs were offered in marketing, human resources, finance, technology, leadership and starting a business in Arkansas. A highlight for 2021 was the kickoff of Financial Boot Camp, with 28 small business owners and entrepreneurs completing the program. Planning was also completed for a new series of trainings for the Spanish-speaking community. Up-to-date information on events, small business resources and small business news can be found through these links.
ASBTDC at the U of A celebrated the close of 2021 with Director Mary Beth Brooks honored as Business Advocate of the Year at the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business Awards. Navigating unusual challenges due to the pandemic while providing customary supports to startups and existing businesses, ASBTDC continues to facilitate big impact on small business in Northwest Arkansas.