The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has provided a $592,000 grant to the World Trade Center Arkansas to focus on job growth and export expansion in counties affected by natural disasters.
The grant is expected to spur an estimated $5 million in private investment, help create 10,000 new jobs, and help retain 350,000 jobs.
“We commend the World Trade Center Arkansas for helping to create economic opportunity through the promotion of international trade and business,” said Dennis Alvord, deputy assistant secretary for regional development at the Economic Development Administration. “This project will help expand Trade Center programs to help diversify the state’s economy.”
Trish Watkins, assistant director of grants and finance for the World Trade Center Arkansas, said the center will utilize the money to help Arkansas businesses and agricultural producers expand their foreign market access.
“We can also use the funds for trade missions, educational seminars, market research and to enhance our consultation services that we provide to Arkansas companies,” she said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared dozens of Arkansas counties to be federally recognized disaster zones on multiple occasions due to weather such as tornadoes and flooding since 2011.
The state’s largest exports are agricultural goods and aerospace products. Many of the regions that were declared disaster zones rely heavily on agriculture as their primary economic driver.
“This grant allows us to provide a great resource to Arkansas companies, especially small businesses, that have been burdened by disaster recovery,” said Dan Hendrix, president and CEO of the World Trade Center Arkansas. “This is an incredible investment in our state, and we are extremely grateful to the EDA for this opportunity.”
For more information about the grant and how it will be used to promote the exports of Arkansas companies, contact Trish Watkins at [email protected]