2020 Southwest Arkansas Rural Business Development Conference


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 virtually via Zoom, with a remote location in Hope, 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 Southwest 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), Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC), and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the conference will be held Friday, December 4, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. via Zoom. For participants without computer access, the conference will also be held remotely at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, located at Hempstead Hall, 2500 S Main Street, Hope, AR 71845. Space is VERY limited! Social distancing, temperature checks, masks, and release forms will be required. 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 a.m. for a “Breakfast with the Lenders Roundtable,” where participants will network with local, regional and statewide lenders. Lenders invited to participate include BancorpSouth, Bank OZK, Diamond Bank, Farmers Bank & Trust, FORGE, along with Rural Missouri, Inc. (RMI), Southern Bancorp, and USDA, Rural Development. 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. Ms. Renée Bender, Senior Advisor of US Small Business Administration, Office of Rural Affairs, will deliver the luncheon address.

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.

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