AEDC Hosts Mobile Meeting In Jonesboro, First In State

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 105 views 

The chance to save a trip to Little Rock could help a business owner save money and grow their business to boot, a deputy director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said Thursday (Oct. 22).

The AEDC and the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted an event to help small and medium size manufacturers learn about the opportunities they have, Danny Games said. Officials with the state agency were at the chamber to talk to business owners about everything from incentives to how to keep a business afloat.

Games said the meeting, which was the first AEDC has held around the state, brought multiple resources to business owners.

“It was to apprise them on what is available and to avert any potential problems,” Games said.

Games said the agency has a business manager and Manufacturing Solutions group personnel assigned to the Jonesboro area and the rest of Northeast Arkansas. Saying that the existing industrial base is the foundation of a local economy, Games said many towns in the state that face similar issues. He said an employer with 100 employees in Jonesboro is on a proportion with a company with 500 employees in Memphis, due to the economies of scale.

“The goal is to get bigger, but also stronger,” Games said of the small- and medium-sized manufacturers. He said communities and regions many times compete for the same types of jobs but all face the same issues. For instance, the need of a strong infrastructure.

“The transportation network is fundamental,” Games said. “Like the old saying, ‘If you cannot get there, you cannot get there.’”

The meeting Thursday is part of an initial pilot program for the state. Games said Jonesboro was chosen to be the first location because of work by the chamber and groups like Jonesboro Unlimited. Jonesboro Unlimited was created in the mid-1980s to help draw businesses to the region as well as creating a strategy to keep businesses.

Games said the group’s reputation around the state is positive.

“It shows the strength locally and it shows the strength of the chamber,” Games said.

The next step for the program is to expand it to other cities, Games said, noting officials will look lessons learned from the first event.