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Available Local Resources: How they & APAC can help Arkansas' small businesses

by Max Franks, Procurement Counselor and Alyssa Huber, Procurement Technician - January 12, 2018

Now that 2018, has arrived it’s time to forge ahead and attack the marketplace, both commercial and governmental. To use all of the resources available we must be aware of what small business programs in Arkansas can do to assist you in the battle for more profit.

There are several steps one has to take to begin a small business in Arkansas, especially if their goal is to do government contracting. The Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center works with several other local organizations that all could potentially have a hand in helping an Arkansas small business, all the way from the beginning steps of starting a business to winning their first government contract. Most of these services are at minimal or no cost to the business.

First, in the commercial sector the Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center or ASBTDC can provide FREE assistance with business plans, Market Research and Analysis, sales reports for you industry, tax issues, hiring employees, and many other vital business related issues. They are located at seven different sites in Arkansas to serve businesses.

ASBTDC: The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is a university-based economic development program that assists entrepreneurs, both new and seasoned. They help with every aspect of business creation, management, and operation. They have seven offices and work with all types of for-profit businesses.

Secondly, a Small Business Administration-funded program of retired business leaders is called SCORE. These retired business leaders have the experience in many fields of work and can sit with you and discuss issues they have already experienced and discuss options. They have offices in Little Rock and Bentonville and work with businesses to share their ideas and knowledge to help you grow your business.

SCORE: Service Corps of Retired Executives provides free and confidential business counseling tailored to meet the needs of your small business. Whether you are just starting out or expanding your established business, SCORE counselors are here to help you succeed. They will help you understand the legal aspects of starting and maintaining a business in Arkansas. They have offices in Little Rock and Bentonville.

Next, let us review the State of Arkansas assistance program provided by your tax dollars. If you are a Minority Owned Small Business or Woman Owned Small Business the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), provides assistance to be certified as a State of Arkansas certified MBE/WBE. They also serve businesses with training in the manufacturing sector through their Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions team.    

AEDC: The Arkansas Economic Development Commission helps increase Arkansas’ economy by offering infrastructure grants and recruiting businesses to come to Arkansas. The AEDC also offers a minority owned small business certification.

Finally, we have those local organizations that assist businesses with government contracting opportunities, on the state and federal level.

SBA: The Small Business Administration is an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns. The Little Rock SBA helps Arkansans start, build and grow their small businesses. They also offer certifications such as: Women Owned Small Business, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, and HUBZone, as well as the mentor protégée program.

DFA: The Department of Finance and Administration has a state procurement office that has the primary responsibility and oversight for the state wide procurement of commodities, technical and professional services for all state agencies, boards and commissions and colleges and universities. The offer a free monthly class in Little Rock if you would like to become a vendor with the State of Arkansas.

APAC: The Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center helps your established small business find, interpret, and bid on government contracts. We also offer free assistance with System for Award Management registration.

Now that you know of all of the resources available to you what is your next move? Most of these resources are provided by your tax dollars for the purpose of small business assistance to grow the economy of Arkansas. Since you are already paying for these services, why not use them to benefit your business? If you do not know how they can assist you, contact them and let them show you the ways each program can assist your growth as a business and so grow the economy of Arkansas in 2018.

The only question left is, are you ready to grow your business?

Green and white APAC graphic