ROGERS — The World Trade Center Arkansas has received a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to expand trade, export and commercialization opportunities for Arkansas businesses and agribusiness affected by severe weather events last year.
Procured by the Center, the grant will support business-focused disaster recovery and resiliency efforts in Arkansas, with international trade expansion for Arkansas businesses in affected counties, the administration said Monday, April 6.
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 Center.
“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 (AEDC).
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 EDA 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 road-map to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.”
The Center’s mission is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the official international trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. For more information and valuable updates, please follow the center on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.