We strive to make the state as business friendly as possible, affirms the Governor of Arkansas as he invites companies looking to expand in the US.
- Arkansas offers an integrated infrastructure system that allows companies to get their product to market quickly and efficiently.
- The State works with local stakeholders to nurture and grow business and industry.
- Start-up ecosystems like Arkansas Made, Arkansas Innovation Hub, and Innovate Arkansas bridge the gap between innovation and commercialisation, while accelerators like The ARK Challenge fund and support new tech companies.
- Arkansas offers businesses strong IT focus but with much lower costs of living and doing business compared to Silicon Valley.
Arkansas is located at the crossroads of commerce in the
and boasts an integrated infrastructure system - highways, waterways, railways and airways - that allows you to get your product to market quickly and efficiently, saving you time and money. The
is also at your fingertips, much like Silicon Valley, but with the benefits of much lower costs of living and doing business.
Indian companies that have found success in “The Natural State” include Cyient Inc.,
Limited, Tata Consultancy Services, UST Global, Welspun and Wipro Limited. They help keep the Arkansas economy diverse and therefore strong while giving back to their employees and communities. Because of that, we see the value in bringing more Indian companies to Arkansas. In fact, we made a trade mission to India in late September and met with several companies in a variety of industries we hope to recruit to Arkansas.
Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston and I often travel together to visit companies we're interested in recruiting, and we find that our pitch resonates with company leaders eager to locate or relocate their operations to a place with a high quality of life and a low cost of living.
We run our state like you run your business, so we understand your challenges. In Arkansas, you'll find an atmosphere where the State works with our local stakeholders to create the best possible environment to nurture and grow business and industry.
Arkansas has proven itself time and time again as a place where businesses grow and succeed. Most people know that the state is home to the world's largest company, Walmart, which has made the Fortune 500 for 25 years and topped the list for the last seven. Other companies making the 2019 list include Tyson Foods (80), Murphy USA (257), J.B. Hunt Transport Services (354), Dillard's (458) and Windstream (493). All of these companies were small start-ups at one time and have become powerhouses in their industry.
We strive to make the state as business friendly as possible and will continue to support
and grow existing businesses, with more jobs, new technology and avenues to market products across the state, the country and the globe.
I'm especially proud of the work we're doing to create well-paying, 21
century jobs in our state. This is always top of the mind in our economic development efforts: recruit and build companies with a strong IT focus so as to build upon the state's history of tech excellence - think Acxiom, Systematics, FIS, and now First Orion.
Start-up ecosystems like Arkansas Made, Arkansas Innovation Hub, and Innovate Arkansas bridge the gap between innovation and commercialisation, while accelerators like The ARK Challenge are funding and supporting new tech companies. Through a state-wide network of partners and targeted tax incentive programs, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission is committed to empowering start-ups and visionaries with open collaboration, unparalleled resources, beneficial policies and a willingness to get things done.
Innovate Arkansas, a program of Arkansas Economic Development Commission, is responsible for the acceleration of technology companies in Arkansas. Innovate Arkansas provides strategic consulting in three areas:
- The acceleration of companies through active strategy and management
- The development of clients' capital structure and to the capital provider network in the state
- The development of talent to meet the needs of the companies
Since its inception in 2008, Innovate Arkansas has assisted more than 630 companies that have created 1,000 jobs with average annual salaries of more than $77,000 per year. Additionally, it has helped to raise more than $363 million in capital for its client companies and helped establish five of the state's six private venture capital funds. It's just one of many of AEDC's entrepreneurial partners that also include:
- Arkansas Capital Corporation Group - https://arcapital.com/
- Arkansas Conductor - https://www.arconductor.org/
- Arkansas Innovation Hub at Winrock International - https://arhub.org/
- Arkansas Research Alliance - https://aralliance.org/
- Arkansas Risk Capital Matching Fund - https://adfa.arkansas.gov/program/arkansas-risk-capital-matching-fund/
- Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center - http://asbtdc.org/
- Arkansas Venture Center - https://www.venturecenter.co/
Arkansas is also home to several technology incubators throughout the state.
The Catalyst Innovation Center is housed with the Arkansas Biosciences Institute at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. It works specifically with bioscience, engineering and technology start-ups. The centre has almost 8,000 sq ft of combined wet-lab and office space that includes 14 flexible laboratories, nine offices, and an executive conference room.
The Arkansas Research and Technology Park at the University of Arkansas is focused on innovation and technology development in association with the university. The facility has almost 300,000 sq ft of research-and-development capacity. University researchers are helping to form new companies in the areas of biotechnology, nanomaterials, and power electronics.
And, finally, Arkansas is becoming a hub for financial technology start-ups, thanks to the Venture Center FinTech Accelerator program. The state partners with the accelerator and global financial services company FIS to help identify and launch the development of early-stage financial technology ventures. During the Accelerator's third annual Demo Day in July, 10 start-ups chosen from 280 applicants from more than 45 countries presented their work and pitched ideas to 450 potential investors, community leaders and representatives from financial institutions and other companies.
Arkansas has consistently been named one of the top states for business because of our talented workforce, infrastructure and our low cost of doing business. Our entrepreneurs have known this for decades. It's why they have had the tools and resources to change the landscapes of their respective industries, from retail to transportation to technology. Now, the nation - and the world - are taking note.
When your business is considering its next expansion or relocation, I invite you to come to Arkansas and let us show you how we can help your business grow and prosper.
Asa Hutchinson is the 46th governor of the State of Arkansas.