The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) is expanding its focus on small business and entrepreneurship by restructuring its Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Division.
AEDC will consolidate resources across the agency to best leverage them in support of small businesses and entrepreneurs in Arkansas, the agency said in a press release. The new division has three focus areas: entrepreneurial ecosystem support, science and technology, and minority and women-owned businesses.
Esperanza Massana Crane will serve as the director of the agency’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Division. She assumed her new role July 10. Massana Crane joined AEDC in 2013 as a project manager on the Business Development team before being named director of marketing in 2015. She has served as the director of the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Division since 2021.
“Entrepreneurship and the development of small businesses are critical to Arkansas’ success,” said Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Hugh McDonald. “Entrepreneurs are creating jobs and new economic opportunities that are foundational for our state’s future. Under the leadership of Esperanza Massana Crane, AEDC’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Division will provide increased focus to help innovators thrive and grow in Arkansas.”
Massana Crane will lead the initiative to consolidate existing divisions in order to put an increased level of focus on AEDC’s efforts to add value to small business owners and entrepreneurs in Arkansas and to increase entrepreneurial activity in the state. Bob Kucheravy will lead science and technology initiatives for the division.
“Arkansas entrepreneurs have created some of the most iconic, successful businesses in the world,” said Clint O’Neal, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “We are committed to helping Arkansas entrepreneurs and small business owners as they launch and run their companies. Esperanza has been a proven leader at AEDC, and I’m confident that she will find success as a champion for our state’s small business owners and entrepreneurs.”