The Arkansas Business Navigator Project (ABN) seeks to assist businesses with access to capital, business development, contracting and procurement, marketing, operations, and exporting and help small businesses address and overcome some of the systemic challenges that face entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities.
By leveraging and empowering existing community-engaged and culturally knowledgeable organizations and programs, ABN will provide the platform for equipping small businesses and entrepreneurs in minority, rural, and other underserved communities across the state.
The Community Navigator Pilot Program, part of the American Rescue Plan initiative, is designed to reduce barriers that all small businesses, including those from underrepresented and underserved groups, often face in accessing critical support. ASBTDC is one of 51 organizations that will receive a combined total of $100 million in funding through the Community Navigator Pilot Program. The organizations will work with hundreds of local groups to connect America’s entrepreneurs to government resources so they can recover and thrive.
Under the community navigator approach, trusted community partners act as “spokes.” Each spoke will reach into specific sectors of the state’s entrepreneurial community. As the “hub,” ASBTDC will provide centralized support and structure for the spokes.
Arkansas Business Navigator spokes include:
- Arkansas Human Development Corporation
- Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce
- Central Arkansas Library System
- East Arkansas Enterprise Community
- Phoenix Youth and Family Services
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service
Arkansas Business Navigators expect to provide training and technical assistance to more than 5,000 new and existing small business owners during the two-year project.