The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center received accolades for its staff engagement, communication and its work connecting university students with local businesses and has been given full re-accreditation by America’s Small Business Development Centers, according to a press release from the Arkansas SBTDC.
SBDC programs are required by U.S. Congress to be evaluated every five years for their efficiency and effectiveness by America’s SBDC, the national accrediting body. Accreditation is a requirement for federal funding.
America’s SBDC commended the Arkansas center specifically for “gamification of strategic planning process, leading to higher staff engagement, development of interdisciplinary high-impact learning experiences for university students to work with local businesses, introduction of collaborative consulting spaces, stakeholder communications, an online video series featuring staff responding to frequently asked questions and (its) marketing plan and schedule,” said Gwen Green, communication’s coordinator for the center.
Arkansas SBTDC is located in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock College of Business. There are also regional offices at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
The centers have assisted Arkansas small businesses with obtaining nearly a half-billion dollars in capital investment and creating more than 10,000 jobs over the last decade, according to the press release. The businesses garnered $69.9 million in 2016 alone.
“We set the bar high for ourselves, and this report illustrates the caliber of our services and staff,” Laura Fine, Arkansas SBTDC state director, said in the release. “Throughout our program’s history, we have never had a condition with an accreditation review, which further demonstrates our commitment to excellence.”
Funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the mission of the SBDC network and its more than 1,000 centers is to help aspiring and current entrepreneurs through no-cost business consulting and low-cost training, according to the organization.