The World Trade Center Arkansas has received a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. The money will back expanded trade, export and commercialization opportunities for Arkansas businesses and agribusinesses affected by severe weather events last year.
The grant will be matched by $175,000 in local investment.
“We are very grateful for the support the Economic Development Administration is providing Arkansas through this grant,” said Dan Hendrix, president and CEO of the World Trade Center Arkansas. “This partnership with EDA is critical for Arkansas businesses to expand globally resulting in jobs growth and retention.”
Hendrix added that the grant was supported by the five Arkansas Economic Development Districts, the governor’s office and Arkansas’ congressional delegation and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Arkansas was battered by record flooding last spring, which was followed by tornadoes in the fall. The flooding hindered the state economy while the tornadoes caused heavy damage to homes and businesses in Northwest Arkansas.
Trish Watkins, the center’s director of grants, finance and human resources, said the grant will expand and maintain jobs for farmers and businesses in the affected counties.
“Over 80% of businesses that export in Arkansas are small business concerns and several hundred are continuously exploring international market expansion every year,” Watkins said. “A significant number of these businesses are in the twenty counties affected and have been impacted by this natural disaster.”
The Economic Development Administration thanked the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District for its regional planning efforts, which have brought “together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.”