UACES Facebook Jan. 24 ‘Path to Prosperity’ event offers look at resources available to help small businesses grow
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Jan. 24 ‘Path to Prosperity’ event offers look at resources available to help small businesses grow

“This program seeks to highlight the multiple ways that entrepreneurs — including farmers/ranchers — can leverage state and federal funds to enhance their business operations." — Ron Rainey

By Mary Hightower
U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Jan 11, 2024

Fast facts:

  • 24 event set for UA-Little Rock
  • USDA, SBA, FDIC join to present workshops
  • Event geared for small businesses including farms

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LITTLE ROCK —  Owners of small businesses looking to grow their enterprises can learn to gain access to needed capital, understand the role of innovation and technology, and become familiar with the paths to government contracting at the “Path to Prosperity” summit Jan. 24 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“Path to Prosperity” is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation.

There is no cost to attend and people can participate either in person or virtually by registering for Path to Prosperity - Arkansas. The event runs from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in room 142 of the Engineering and Information Technology building on the UA-Little Rock campus. To navigate or park on campus, see the campus construction map.

Flyer for Jan. 24, 2024, Path to Prosperity event. (USDA image)

“This program seeks to highlight the multiple ways that entrepreneurs — including farmers/ranchers — can leverage state and federal funds to enhance their business operations,” said Ron Rainey, assistant vice president for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and director of the Southern Risk Management Education Center. “Any business can benefit from the shared resources and presentations, but targeted sessions will highlight services available to agriculture sector and rural areas. The Division of Agriculture is excited to promote our technical assistance as well as enhance collaboration with our state and federal partners to serve Arkansas.”

In addition to a series of panel discussions, the event will also have excellent networking opportunities, with representatives from the sponsoring agencies, as well as local resources such as Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service and the Arkansas APEX Accelerator.

“We are proud to welcome the USDA Pathways to Prosperity event to Arkansas,” said Hunter Goodman, assistant professor-community, workforce and economic development. “The one-day summit is a national event held state-by-state with a focus on uplifting strategies, information, and resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout our state, especially in rural and agricultural communities. We are excited to represent the Division of Agriculture in conversations focused on relationships, technology, and specific business support in ways that address our community impact locally.”

Arkansas resources

The Arkansas APEX Accelerator is among the entities that planned the Path to Prosperity series to educate Arkansas businesses on how to join the government marketplace.

“From 2010 to 2019, federal agencies have seen a 38 percent decline in the number of small businesses receiving federal government contracts,” said Melanie Berman, program director for the Arkansas APEX Accelerator. “Businesses looking to scale up may sell to the government as a means to increase their revenue base. The White House is calling on agencies to spend 15 percent of their contracting dollars on small, disadvantaged businesses — including women-, Black- and Hispanic-owned small businesses — by fiscal year 2025. 

“We can teach established businesses how to market themselves to government buyers, sign up as a federal vendor in, and search for opportunities,” Berman said. “We must build up the capacity of our small, disadvantaged businesses in Arkansas so they may grow their businesses through selling to the state, federal and local government.”

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on X and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on X at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on X at @AgInArk.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media contact: Mary Hightower