The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Arkansas State University is launching the second cycle of an accelerator geared toward businesses in Northeast Arkansas.
First held in 2020, the Smart Growth Accelerator is targeting recently established businesses in three counties: Craighead, Crittenden and Mississippi counties. The ASBTDC will be hosting three cohorts during 2021: one in the spring, one in the summer and one in the fall.
According to ASBTDC officials, the accelerator is designed to enhance Northeast Arkansas businesses’ strategic growth abilities and enable them to establish long-range growth plans. Subject matter experts will provide training in business planning, financial management, marketing and financing.
“The Smart Growth Accelerator will help small businesses think strategically about the future and ultimately increase their confidence so they can make informed decisions in order to grow. 2020 has been a tough year, and we’re proud to be able to offer this free program for businesses looking to expand through the challenges of the pandemic and beyond,” ASBTDC business consultant Brittany Roe told Arkansas Money & Politics.
Businesses must be located in one of the three counties to qualify for the multi-week program. The businesses must also have been open for at least one year but no more than five years, and have at least one employee other than the owner/CEO.
During the program, ASTBDC officials will provide assistance through group sessions and one-on-consulting. Sessions will be conducted online via Zoom.
Each accelerator cohort will have four sessions. The spring cohort will have sessions on April 7, April 21, May 5 and May 19. The summer cohort will have sessions on July 14, July 28, August 11 and August 25. The fall cohort will have sessions on September 1, September 15, September 29 and October 13. Sessions will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The accelerator is free for businesses due to Portable Assistance Grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Applications are now open for the accelerator program. Click here to apply.