UACES Facebook Create Bridges Arkansas Team Launches Rural Business Podcast
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Create Bridges Arkansas Team Launches Rural Business Podcast

by Brandon Mathews - October 15, 2020

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It's no secret business owners face perilous times during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those in rural communities. Even during times without a global pandemic, rural business owners confront obstacles that are atypical to their urban counterparts. But despite these challenges, these owners are successfully navigating and adapting to these obstacles every day.

But how do you identify these owners and what would they say if they had a platform? Fortunately, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is leading that charge thanks to the Create Bridges initiative.

The Create Bridges Arkansas team started the Arkansas Small Business: Big Rural Impact podcast to hear from rural business owners in two regions: Ozark Foothills (Izard, Sharp, and Fulton counties) and 3Cs (Little River, Howard, and Sevier counties).

The podcast has three goals:

  1. Highlight products and services of businesses in their respective regions
  2. Discuss ways business owners address workforce development, technology, infrastructure, and more
  3. Foster collaboration between local business owners through the sharing of ideas and best practices

The podcast is co-hosted by Create Bridges Arkansas Regional Program Coordinators Murriel Wiley, Hazelle Whited, and Brandon Mathews. Guests will include local business owners, community leaders, and local officials from the Ozark Foothills and 3Cs focusing on businesses in the retail, tourism, accommodation, and entertainment sectors.

Premier + How to Listen

Arkansas Small Business: Big Rural Impact podcast’s first episode premiered Oct. 1, 2020 and is available for streaming at and through our partner Spring River Innovation Hub’s Apple Podcasts and Spotify pages.

Get Involved

If you would like to be on the podcast or know someone we should reach out to in the two regions, please email us at


About the Create Bridges Initiative

Create Bridges is a three-year pilot initiative launched to develop and test a process to promote and strengthen retail, tourism, accommodation, and entertainment sectors in rural Arkansas communities. The process is designed to raise awareness of the roles of these important businesses play in the local economy; determine challenges and barriers negatively impacting those businesses; and develop and implement strategies to strengthen the four sectors within the region.