Providing rural residents with the skills and tools needed to create and expand small businesses and engage in job creation activities are the goals of an upcoming regional business conference to be held in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. Funded by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (ADWS), Arkansas Human Development Corporation (AHDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development (USDA, RD), the 2020 Eastern Arkansas Rural Business Development Conference, with a theme of “Equipping rural Arkansas with the tools and resources to drive business opportunities, partnerships, and expansion,” will bring together approximately 20 private, state, federal and nonprofit organizations with a singular mission of equipping small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and resources to start and expand their businesses.

Hosted by the AHDC, Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center (APTAC), University of Arkansas Little Rock-Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC), Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the conference will be held Friday, February 28, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the UAMS Delta Area Health Education Center, which is located at 1393 Highway 242 South, Helena, AR 72342. Topics will include but are not limited to, building effective business relationships, securing the right kind of capital, how to sell goods and services to the government, and how to use the many services of the ASBTDC to develop and/or expand your business.

Join us at 8:30 am for a “Breakfast with the Lenders Roundtable,” where participants will network with local, regional and statewide lenders. Lenders invited to participate include Arkansas Capital Corporation, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Communities Unlimited, Farmers and Merchants Bank, First National Bank of Eastern Arkansas, FORGE, along with USDA, Rural Development, Partners Bank, and Southern Bancorp. The panel discussion will be moderated by Herb Lawrence, Lender Relations Specialist, Arkansas District Office, U.S. Small Business Administration.

Current business owners and those just getting started, youth entrepreneurs, business and technical school students, apprentices, veterans, faith-based leaders and community and economic development professionals, are invited to attend. You will engage with other business owners, receive help with research and business planning, learn how to increase your networking results and learn to do more business with government and private industry. Dr. Sharita Speed-Crittle, Business and Financial Services Consultant at DrS Consulting Group LLC, will deliver the luncheon address. She will use her vast experience to discuss entrepreneurship and economic development for Phillips County.

Don’t miss the opportunity to help your community create needed JOBS by learning valuable tools to help your small business GROW! And, INNOVATE!


You may register by calling Arkansas Human Development Corporation toll free at (800) 482-7641 or (501) 374-1103, ext. 10 or online at https://bit.ly/2tuT7Qh .